Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Final Project Proposal

     For my final project, I’ve chosen to do Option A, the extended literary analysis. The idea that I’m leaning towards is analyzing the use of the journal-keeping and technology in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is interesting that the nineteenth century vampire stories that we read in this class all were told from the journalistic point of view -- yet the different ways in which each character relates the tale says a lot about the characters themselves and Victorian society.
     I think in Jonathan Harker’s case, he writes in his journal to validate his own sanity. Mina keeps a journal and often corresponds with Lucy via letters, yet as she is drawn more towards Dracula, she quits writing. Dr. Seward and Van Helsing initially keep their journals as a means of professionalism and documentation of their studies, but as the story progresses, they write to keep their own sanity as well. I also find it interesting that at the end, the men rely on their journal to validate their experience. -- it’s almost as if the events that occurred wouldn’t be as important if there was not a record of them.
     I’d definitely like to compare elements of Dracula to some of the other works that we have read in this class. Robert Neville does not keep a journal, but relies on the written word to learn more about the vampires. Louis comes to “the boy” in order to give a tale of warning against the vampire lifestyle, not just vampires in general. But in Dracula, each character that keeps a journal has a unique perspective that is also symbolic of the ideals found in Victorian society at the time of Dracula’s writing.


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  2. I love this idea! You could also include Carmilla in this if you wanted to because Laura's story is a sort of journalistic confession. Something to consider is the connection between the journal and the "confession" in the Catholic sense of the word. There was a huge surge of interest in the late 19th century involving Catholic rituals and especially the role of confession in modern society. You can get a general overview here
    but for scholarly purposes, the Victorian web is a much more reliable source:

    In many ways we can see the role of confession as an attempt to define one's own subjectivity. It’s a very “modern” project in the sense that it is an exercise in exploring and defining the nature of the “self.” In terms of Interview With The Vampire, you could explore how the "interview" as a genre is a type of modern-day "confession." Think of interviewers such as Barbara Walters and Oprah and the way in which they urge guest to "confess" their secrets, for instance.

    I think this will be a great project, and I look forward to reading it.