Text, Culture and Values: Part A
Dracula and Twilight
Engaging texts such as Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel ‘Dracula’ and Catherine Hardwicke’s widespread film ‘Twilight’ habitually explore the intertextuality of traditional values and culture, which are appropriated and altered to suit a contemporary audience to reflect how similar or different universal concerns may be in multiple eras. Appropriations in literature occur as a result of the same issue arising over time even though society is constantly developing. Comparable morals and values are existent in individuals who transcend throughout the unique fictitious text ‘Dracula’ which was published in 1897; these ideologies are also reflected in the 2008 film ‘Twilight.’ The modern film adaptation challenges the classic interpretation of vampires that are depicted in Bram Stokers novel; however themes such as the subversion of status quo, and love are evident in both renditions. The connection between ideas reconnoitred through different versions of vampires, both made in different time periods, have greatly influenced their audience, therefore appropriation of texts have ensued in order to maintain the significance of certain concepts.
The portrayal of certain entities can be misconstrued over time; this is often done so that they can assimilate to contextual norms of the time period. Classic vampires, such as the ones in the gothic novel ‘Dracula,’ were characterised to be soulless, malign creatures that couldn’t survive without absorbing the life force of humans. However, recent elucidations of vampires, such as Edward Cullen from ‘Twilight,’ are represented as pure and good hearted individuals; they can also resist the need for human blood. ‘Twilight’ disobeys textual standards of vampires; for example the only direct effect sunlight has on them is that they ‘sparkle’, whereas in ‘Dracula’ the direct effect of sunlight burns them. Isabella ‘Bella’ Swan, Edward Cullen’s romantic partner, is surprised when she enters the Cullen’s home which is quite modern compared to what her assumption of what a stereotypical castle of a vampire is meant to look like with “…coffins and dungeons….” Bella in this case can symbolise how traditional insights are still extant in contemporary society, as the description in which she assumed Edward’s home would look like is very heavily influenced by classic vampires such as Dracula who lives in an eerie castle in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. However modern vampires still maintain similar physical traits and powers to classic vampires such as tremendous strength, immortality and pale skin. Thus, the identity of vampires has varied over time to fit contemporary standards; but these later manifestations still maintain parts of their original heritage.
In relation to feminine values, both texts have subverted the status quo upheld in both time periods and have exchanged ideals in a sense. During the nineteenth century, when ‘Dracula’ was released, patriarchal domination was the norm domestically; women were seen as just ‘house wives,’ because males were usually more educated. This isn’t the case in regards to the character Mina Harker from ‘Dracula.’ Mina Harker doesn’t fit the stereotypical view of women from that era, she is well educated and uses ‘newfangled machines’ and is often referred to having a “…man’s brain….” Hence, the characterisation of Mina in ‘Dracula’ defied traditional values that were deemed socially acceptable in that time but are now the standard in contemporary society. Twilight however, written in a current setting in a society where ladies are highly educated and independent because of the progression of female rights, completely objectifies women with its depiction of the character Bella Swan. Throughout the film Bella constantly finds a male to adhere to and depend on, firstly she does so with her father, after she moves to Forks to live with him