The extract makes constant references to cultural and national identity through the style of the text, the imagery of the clothing and appearances of people. There is also indication to context through the beliefs of people in the places that Jonathan visits and their rejection towards him. Bram Stoker uses this cultural and national identity to contrast the one of that Jonathan possesses.
Throughout the text, there is extensive description on the appearances of the people and sometimes architecture of the differences places the protagonist visits, depicting the differences of culture and national identity.
They wore high boots, with their trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and heavy black moustaches… very picturesque, but do not look prepossessing. ” These descriptions give clues to their context and when the appearance shifts rapidly, there is a clear understanding that the protagonist is travelling to new places quickly. This travelling is another clue to his context, with the existence of travel writing and trains.
The culture and national identity of the different places that Jonathan travels to is an indication that he is no longer in his modern society but travelling deeper and deeper into a culture that almost lives in the past. This is shown by the imagery of the people in the different towns, “… with short jackets, and round hats, and home-made trousers. ” These people are highly superstitious and this is conveyed by the landlady’s concern for Jonathan as he is leaving on the 4th of May.
In her culture, there is superstition upon the next day as it believed to be the day where “all the evil things in the world will have full sway”. The crucifix and rosary are symbols of her culture and nationality and are used to wear away the abhuman. This “old” way of life seems almost primitive and uncivilised compared to the “new” modern context that Jonathan comes from. As he travels from the West to the East, there is contrast between the clothing that they wear and also the beliefs within the people.
Jonathan clearly comes from a more technologically and academically advanced society and this is shown through the epistolary form of the text which can be identified from the dates and locations stated prior every entry and the recount-like narration style. The train in Jonathan’s world is contrasted with the horse and carriage in the less advanced world he has travelled to. “[He] cracked his big whip over his four small horses, which ran abreast, and we set off on our journey.
The late-Victorian context, anti-modernism and anti-rationalism is reflected in the locations Jonathan travels to. It is especially obvious when he passes groups of people and they call him names such as ““Ordog” – Satan, “Pokol” – hell, “stegoica” – witch””. The people of the town show a rejection towards Jonathan as his modernity clearly does not belong in their society. They criticise him as a notion to criticise his modern kind for the abnormal behaviours of their world and the beings that possess these characteristics, the abhuman.
Although there are differences in the nationalities, the identification of the abhuman in this area is uniform – ““vrolok” and “vlkoslak” – both mean the same thing, one being Slovak and the other Servian for something that is either werewolf or vampire. ” This again depicts the large amounts of superstition and rejection towards science which is then contrasted with the rationality of Jonathan. The Eastern towns that Jonathan travels to are seemingly ‘abhuman’ as they believe in strange superstitions and do not believe in modernity and change.
They are relatively primitive and do not embrace modern technology such as trains. This behaviour gives the reader that sense of abnormality and the abhuman as they see things through first person narration trough Jonathan’s point of view. Summarily, Stoker has used an epistolary style and other features to convey Jonathan’s context which is then contrasted with the descriptions of the unfamiliar locations that he travels to. This strange superstitious behaviour is used to contrast between the civilised and uncivilised, progressive and regressive, human and abhuman.