Masters Thesis

The colonization of Quincey Morris: the American other in Bram Stoker's Dracula

The debate over the correct political interpretation of Dracula has been waged by critics for decades. It is unlikely to achieve a clear resolution in the near future. However, one aspect of the postcolonial question that has been largely ignored is the status of the United States as a potential counterbalance or rival to British imperial authority. At least one critic, Joseph Valente, suggested that Stoker and other British writers of his era would have viewed the United States as a more serious challenge to the supremacy of the British Empire than Eastern Europe. However, despite this perception of political tension, no critic has seriously considered how Quincey Morris, the lone American hero within the text, fits within a postcolonial analysis of Dracula. Rather, literary critics appear content to largely ignore Quincey Morris, just as the character is often omitted from stage and movie adaptations. Thus, the analysis of the character contributes substantially to the ongoing debate over the text's political message by expanding the discussion to include the United States. Admittedly, Quincey Morris is a relatively minor character. However, he is certainly an interesting one. Initially, he is portrayed as a viable suitor for Lucy despite being American. Quincey is rough around the edges. He brandishes a distinctive bowie knife and speaks in slang. He is often the first to respond to a perceived threat, and he eventually proves himself adept at killing when he assists in destroying Dracula; yet, he is also the only hero to die at the end of the novel. His name is memorialized when Mina and Jonathan name their son after him, an act which suggests the substitution of the more wild American with a suitable British replacement. The future of the imperialist discussion of Stoker's Dracula should expand to consider the American threat to the empire.

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