Or: Vampires and Homoeroticism: A Case Study of Dracula and Twilight
Yesterday, the 8th of November, was Bram Stoker’s 165th birthday (as the Google doodle informed us all). I personally decided to celebrate with one of my favorite pastimes… queering classic literature! As an added bonus, I’m going to show how this connects back to Twilight and why this ultimately proves that Edward and Jacob are totally gay for each other. Let slashers everywhere rejoice!
Dracula: The Female Body as a Surrogate
It’s no secret that Victorian literature is riddled with homoeroticism. Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, is no exception. Arthur, Quincey, and John’s constant praise of one another would inspire cries of “No homo!” amongst modern bros. But, after all, the Victorian era was a time when men were expected to do everything together… except have sex.
What are three manly friends in a homoerotic friendship to do in order to express their love? All fall in love with the same woman, of course! Lucy becomes the vessel for them to consummate their bro love. As Lucy begins to fall ill to vampirism, the three friends and Van Helsing each donate blood to Lucy, thereby uniting in one body in a creepy interpretation of the sex act.
This was, of course, only possible because of Dracula’s interference. He is both the instigator and the challenger to the homoerotic polygamist marriage due to his role as an unwelcome fifth groom.
Dracula forges this male community of passionate mutual admiration, but he cannot join it. Only indirectly, by drinking Lucy’s blood after the four men have “married” her (and each other) in a series of transfusions can Dracula infiltrate the heroic brotherhood (Auerbach 82).
Dracula’s act of infiltration (and penetration!), establishes him as an another member of the marriage. By drinking Lucy’s blood, he reverses the sex act of the transfusions. After Lucy’s death, the mixing of blood exists only in him. Dracula is the only vessel for their consummation, a truly horrifying thought for the men.
With their initial female surrogate gone, the three friends and Van Helsing immediately find a replacement: Mina Harker. Their devotion to her, in spite of her marriage to Jonathan, essentially proves that who the woman is doesn’t actually matter (and, incidentally, pulls Jonathan into their group marriage).
When Dracula targets Mina as his next victim, he again serves as the catalyst for the homoerotic marriage to be consummated in the new surrogate. By forcing Mina to drink his blood, Dracula not only returns the blood of the other men to a female host, but also more formally introduces himself into the homoerotic polygamist marriage.
Their blood once again mixed in a proper female surrogate, the men can safely kill off the foreign intruder and live in homosocial peace.
What Does This Mean for Twilight?
The thing poor Bella never realizes in the Twilight Saga is that she’s actually serves as a way for her beloved Edward to act out his homoerotic desires on two different occasions.
Edward and James:
In the first book, we see a hint of that mixing in the female body. James bites Bella (penetration!) and injects his venom into her. Edward bites Bella (more penetration!) to suck it out. Bella effectively acts as the middle(wo)man for Edward and James’ desire to hate bone each other.
After all, it’s not Bella herself who inspires James to hunt, per say: it’s Edward’s defending her. Jealous much, James?
But, of course, this is rendered a non-issue when James is destroyed. Enter homoerotic romance number two…
Edward and Jacob:
Yes, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: how this all connects to imply that Edward and Jacob have a homoerotic relationship.
Unlike the manly men of Dracula, there is no established friendship between Edward and Jacob. However this has to be the case in their situation. Edward and Jacob are built to destroy one another; their species are enemies. And everyone knows that mortal enemies make the best star-crossed lovers.
Like in Dracula, they both happen to fall in love with the same woman–a human woman, the perfect middle ground for a vampire and wolf shapeshifter. They’re also weirdly competitive over her. Perhaps Edward really is that protective of Bella. Perhaps Jacob really is that unwilling to give her up. Or maybe Bella is just the means to express Edward and Jacob’s epic love/hate relationship. Let us consider how many times the encounters between the two could end in the phrase “and then they had sex.”
Do they truly hate one another, or are they merely frustrated by their inability to consummate their love? This question and their relationship remain in limbo for a while.
And then along comes Breaking Dawn.
Edward and Bella finally get married and consummate their love in the traditional sense. This leaves poor Jacob alone, on the outside. His fears for Bella’s safety during the consummation could have been inspired from a place of jealousy. After all, he is unable to perform any penetrative act on Bella, therefore the surrogacy is incomplete and will remain so.
Or so it seems. Edward’s offer to Jacob to sleep with Bella in order for her to be able to have children seems ludicrous. It’s not every day a man offers his wife to another man. However, Bella cannot be allowed to die as it would take away their surrogate lover, and Jacob fathering Bella’s children would allow him to finally consummate his love with Edward through her body. Bella, still retaining consciousness and therefore some agency, refuses this offer, seemingly ending all hopes for their bromance to be consummated.
Renesmee is the final solution, the true surrogate. Being Edward’s daughter, she is part of him. The moment Jacob imprints on her, it becomes clear that one day his love for Edward will be consummated through Edward’s daughter. It takes two surrogates, but their love prevails at last.
There are clear parallels that can be drawn between Dracula and Twilight here that force us to conclude that Edward and Jacob actually maintain homoerotic feelings for one another. While said feelings are more in the realm of hate-boning than the manly love of their Victorian predecessors,in both cases they overcome their inability to be with each other through the love of a female surrogate. Lucy, Mina, Bella, Renesmee… Ultimately the who doesn’t matter as long as the male love can be acted upon in some fashion in the end. Though this paints a disturbing picture for the role of the human (and half-human) female figure in vampire literature, it really leads us to one obvious conclusion:
Vampires are gay.
Auerbach, Nina. Our Vampires, Ourselves. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1995. Print.
Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight. Little, Brown and Company: New York, 2005. Print.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2003. Print.