Empowering with the Anti-rational

The superstitions throughout Dracula are very prominent. The storyline is rampant with such items– the rose branches, garlic– as well as ones with religious symbolism such as the holy water and communion wafers. The idea of the “anti-rational”, how some things just cannot be justified with reason or logic, interests me greatly, possibly because I have been so immersed in the sciences and minute details of how things work… thus reading about the powers from these superstitions was quite impactful and sparked almost a sort of hopefulness and empowering feeling that is similar to what one gets from any mythological or fantasy book. It makes you want to be a part of it and experience having such abilities, because somehow, things always seem to work out no matter what new monster attacks you or what trap you fall into. 

Dracula castle: https://pixabay.com/photos/landscape-castle-dracula-bran-4042248/

Thinking about the irrational, I started hypothesizing about connections between this “unknown” to the Irish history and colonialism. There are so many moments throughout the novel that seem to be inconsistent, such as the overall role of women, descriptions of the landscapes, the character’s emotions. In particular, we see Harker’s transition from the start, being a non-believer in the rosary beads and superstitions, to becoming a believer of all types of Catholic-based items. Nothing is for sure, and everything seems fluid. Possibly, this can connect to the idea that the state of the Irish as the colonized and the English as the colonizer, is also something fluid. Possibly, Stoker is empowering the people to believe in this uncertainty and to have faith in changes and the unknown. 

2 Comments

  1. I like how you label it as “anti-rational” rather than “irrational”. Irritational has a connotation behind it that it’s for those who are crazy, refuse to follow logic, etc. But I feel as if “anti-rational” is the opposition of the existence of logic, and having to resort to other types of reasoning since logic and what is “set in stone” does not exist. That definitely is a book like Dracula, a true fantasy in reality.

  2. I love your definition of anti-rational – “how some things just cannot be justified with reason or logic”. I the idea is extremely similar to the “high place phenomenon”, where when you’re at somewhere high, we have this anti-rational urge to jump off it. Maybe we humans as a species are innately a little anti-rational.

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