‘The role of women in literature often reflects contemporary social and cultural concerns about gender.’ Compare and contrast how and for what purposes the role of women is presented in your chosen texts.
The role of women in literature often reflects contemporary social and cultural concerns about gender and power; this can be seen within the three texts, Bram Stoker’s, ‘Dracula’, first published in 1987, Ian Banks ‘Wasp Factory’ written in 1984, and the collections of poems called ‘Ariel’ by Sylvia Plath published in 1965. At the time when all three of these literature texts were written, women of the different time periods were struggling to be equal to men. The struggle of women was shown through the life of Sylvia Plath with her subsequent mental breakdown and suicide attempt. Sylvia Plath was struggling to make sense of her own personal roles as a mother, wife, child and writer; her struggle is shown powerfully in the poem ‘Ariel’. In ‘Dracula’ Lucy and Mina are the chief women who portray the ‘new woman’; that is, women who want freedom and equality; they want freedom to some extent, but they still see and understand their place to be supporting men, unlike Frank’s mother in ‘The Wasp Factory’ who abandons her husband, franks father and all of her children to seek her own freedom.
Written in the Victorian period, ‘Dracula’, portrays the Victorian woman to be someone who should be submissive to men. As a Victorian woman Mina plays a role of a nurse and a wife, who is loyal and dedicated; all of the male character within the novel love her but foolishly refuse her involvement in the final fight. Lucy is a very flirtatious character, if she was to really like all three of the men or even if she was to fantasise about being able to marry three men she would not be seen as a respectable Victorian woman. She touches upon the Victorian concerns about female sexuality. Her death is organised and her fiance.