The Little Children Can Be Bitten Analysis

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An Analysis of Dennis Foster 's “The Little Children Can Be Bitten”

Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker is a seminal piece of Gothic horror fiction. The novel 's portrayal of an undead master (the titular character) being chased by Van Helsing and his band of vampire hunters has been consumed for over a century. Dennis Foster 's critical article “The little children can be bitten: A Hunger for Dracula” uses a psychoanalytic approach to analyze this influential work of literature. In his article, Foster makes a compelling, successful argument about the nature of the novel and how it relates to the inner workings of the human mind. He posits that the visceral, unchained figure of Dracula represents the innate desire for the mother and a return
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Even Dracula – a masculine figure who has a “history of leadership and violence” (Foster 488) appears to symbolize both a mother and a child. At one point in the novel, Dracula feeds Mina blood from his own breast. “...His right hand gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom” (Stoker 283). This passage clearly mimics that of the breastfeeding of a child. Another event earlier in the novel clearly indicates the symbolic nature of the vampire. When Lucy is turned undead by the Count, she goes out and feeds on young children who are enamored by the “bloofer lady” (Stoker 204). On page 488, Foster compares the children to the men who had been lusting after Lucy - “The children, like the men before them, are drawn to this motherly, erotically charged woman, giving themselves to her while they also identify with …show more content…
While Count Dracula himself represents a mother, he also can be seen as a child. On page 489, Foster states that “Dracula embodies something of the drives and compulsions that we adults have tamed and diminished. Dracula knows what he wants...compare him to the child, the human animal at the breast.” In fact, on page 301 Van Helsing references the Count 's “child-brain.” The vampire 's immortality further proves the assertion of the child comparison. According to Foster, a child 's brain represents immortality. They do not understand concepts of life and death in the way that adults do. In his words, “leaving childhood implies our discovering that we lack something in our being” (491). That inherent flaw in humanity is that of death. Childhood represents a time in which the mind 's inner animalistic needs are at the forefront of the conscience without the trappings of time, change, and death. Vampires clearly embody this – they experience “the rage for pleasure that we see in the child, but they suffer from neither the child 's incapacity nor the adult 's sentence of death”

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