Dracula Literary Essay Topics
Choose ONE of the following topics to develop for your formal literary essay. Group
work will be done in class to prepare for the topic, but the essay is an individually
written formal summative assignment to be completed once the novel is finished.
Formal literary essays are written in the third person, in the present tense and use
formal academic language:
1. Describe the appearances Dracula makes throughout the novel. What does Stoker
achieve by keeping his title character in the shadows for so much of the novel?
2. Describe Van Helsing’s role as Dracula’s antagonist. Why is the old Dutch professor
the most threatening adversary to the Count?
3. Contrast the roles of Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra. How are the women similar?
How are they different? Why is Lucy the first to fall under Dracula’s spell?
4. What are the consequences of modernity in Dracula? How does the concern with
being scientific affect the characters’ ability to understand the threat against them?
5. Describe the use of imagery in Dracula and how it adds to both the atmosphere of the
story and character development.
6. Evaluate the effects that Dracula has on the various characters he encounters in the
story. How does he bring out their best and most noble instincts? How does he bring
out their worst or least attractive qualities?
7. What is the significance of blood in Dracula? What is its value to humans? To the
vampire? Explore the literal and symbolic meanings of blood in the story.
8. What did Dracula represent within the context of Stoker’s story? Explore the question
in the context of the following assertion: Dracula is all things to all people.
9. In what way is the novel a recounting of a “holy war” of good versus evil? Which
characters or ideas does Stoker depict as “good”? Which does he depict as “evil”? How
do these characters and ideas conflict within the story?
10. How does Count Dracula pervert elements of Christian tradition? What is the
significance of this perversion?