PHILOSOPHICAL, SEXUAL, SCIENTIFIC AND THEOLOGICAL THEMES IN DRACULA
With Frankenstein, Dracula probably ranks as the best known horror novel, although as with its famous companion, Hollywood has much to do with its fame. Like Mary Shelley's work, Stoker's reflects the culture that produced it. As you read the novel, be aware of the following...
LITERARY POINT OF VIEW:
The novel is narrated from multiple points of view: letters, diaries, newspaper articles etc. What advantages do the shifting viewpoints provide? Form is always related to content. Think of one of the major conflicts Stoker dramatizes--what was happening in Victorian England that forever changed the direction of history? One might cite the feminist movement, the impact of Darwin and the industrial revolution. In broader terms, the scientific revolution that begin with Galileo and Newton made itself felt by technological progress. The utopian philosophy of the social Darwinists drew comfort from that fact that science (that which allows you to predict what will happen next) could provide (in theory) the best of all possible worlds. One of the central conflicts in Dracula is the viability of that belief system when challenged by that which cannot be explained scientifically. Thus the diaries of Harker and Seward are filled with empirical data--the viewpoints are scientific. Yet, Professor Van Helsing reminds us (as does Hamlet) that, "...There are more things in heaven and earth.../ Than are dreamt of in your philosophy " (I,v,165) and "There's a divinity that shapes our ends...(V,ii,10). The novel's shifting viewpoints dramatize conflicts inherent in Victorian culture. We will examine Van Helsing comments below.
To review the mechanics of point of view, click here.
THEMES AND MOTIFS:
I. Dracula and Victorian horror (vs. romantic)
A. Victorian times...click here for background: faith and science (see the special section below: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
B. Your NORTON CRITICAL EDITION has critical essays following the text
C. Intellectual currents:
8. Hysteria (a womens disease?)
9. Role reversal = intelligence and gender--the fear of the reality--Macbeth is an important allusion. See the introductory essay on this web site for Jung's animus and anima.
D. Vampire legends--(film) Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Dracula--15th c. Romania) Click here to learn of the historical Dracula
E. Background of Stoker:
1. Sexuality--repression and testing the boundaries
2. Oscar Wilde--the trial and conviction
3. The Lyceum and Henry Irving--attraction?
III. The novel began in 1890 and published as the UNDEAD in 1897
1--chapters one to four: the gothic element; the coming of Dracula (thesis)
2--chapters five to sixteen: the counteroffensive (antithesis)
3--chapter seventeen: all the protagonists come together (synthesis)
4--chapter eighteen: the turning point: how to kill a vampire?
5--Chapters nineteen to twenty-seven: the final assault
B. Point of view and dramatic irony: Prior to Chapter 17, and with varying degrees of perception, the following characters contribute to what eventually will be a collective understanding of how to cope with Dracula...
1. Van Helsing--why are his credentials important?
2. Mina Harker--the feminist perspective--what does she contribute?
3. Jonathan Harker--the perspective of the nominalist businessman
4. Dr. Seward--the perspective of medicine and mental health
5. Arthur Holmwood--male potency
6. Quincey Morris--the male who sacrifices
7. Lucy Westerna--the 'traditional' non-feminist
8. vampire women--sexuality embodying allusions to Macbeth
9. Renfield--insanity (perhaps) and significant biblical allusions.
10. Swales--the price of skepticism
IV. Key ideas and phrases that reverberate as motifs...trace them:.
A. sexuality--dreams & rape (2 kinds) / homosexuality / gasping / lust / orgasm
D. clinical - scientific language
E. mirrors / shaving
F. garlic and the cross and the host and wood
G. the Bible: Christ, the anti-Christ and John the Baptist
H. the body; eyes and teeth and gums and throat and lips and gum and skin
I. colors: red and white--blood and skin and teeth
J. animals: dogs and flies and wolves and bats
K. feminism and new women
L. technology (see Gothic page web site)
N. east and west--the importance of soil
Q. madness and insanity
S. mother / father / wife / husband figures: jealousy
T. prostitution / masturbation / homosexuality: friend John
V. Victorian funeral practices,
W. child abuse
X. Little Red Riding Hood
Y. hypnosis, mesmerism and physiognomy
Z. so what is Dracula as monster--what were the fears of the day?
V. dreams and nightmares
1. sexuality and the fear of the husband's potency
3. racism--(anticipates Hitlers "hoards" from the east)
4. colonialism / xenophobia
5. the anti-christ (where does Dracula land in England?)
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
As noted, Dracula dramatizes belief systems in conflict. Throughout the novel, the technological marvels of Victorian progress appear:
"manifold" (carbon paper)
the phonograph (tape recorder)
the camera (Kodak)
In fact, Seward reminds us (Chapter XXV), that he misses his phonograph: "To write diary with a pen in irksome to me." Would we not say the same without our computers and cell phones? Yet this scientific rationalism is directly challenged by Van Helsing, the most liberally educated character in the novel. In Chapter XIV, he warns Dr. Seward:
"You are a clever man, friend John; you reason well, and you wit is bold, but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men's eyes, because they know--or think they know--some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all, and if it explains not, then it says there is nothing to explain..."
Do you see a biblical allusion here?
Much of Stoker's warnings regarding undo faith in scientific "progress" per se are subtle allusions to classical literature and philosophy. Note examples from...
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Coleridge's poem offers a profound example. One reading of Mariner suggests that although on the conscious level, the author was a staunch Anglican who believed in a universe in which a benevolent Deity reconciled the opposites that rendered mortal existence paradoxical (See Plato's Symposium and Coleridge's Biographical Literaria); yet on the subconscious level, he was terrified that such a reconciliation based on love might not be possible: witness his unhappy marriage, his occasional disputes with Wordsworth, and of course his addiction: See The Pains of Sleep).
Thus it is no accident that Stoker bases the approach of Dracula's ship, the Demeter, to Whitby on the mariner's sighting the ghost ship with its crew of horrors. The use of Whitby is brilliant. The Synod (664) was convened after Penda of Mercia , who disdained Christianity, was defeated. At the Synod, Osway of Northumbria said, regarding the unification of the church in England, "...lest when I come to the gates of the kingdom of heaven, there should be none to open them, he being my adversary who is known to possess the keys." (Walter Hall, et.al., A History Of England and the Empire Commonwealth, Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell, 1965., p. 13). Might not the adversary also be the Devil? In Stoker's novel, Dracula come to seduce Lucy.
Dr. Seward's medical specialty is psychiatry [the new science again] and his patient is Renfield, whose relationship to Dracula is important: Renfield says to the Count in Chapter VIII, "I am here to do your bidding Master...I shall be faithful. I have worshiped you long...Now that you are near, I await your commands..." Does this analogy work:
Renfield : Dracula :: John the Baptist : Jesus
Scripture warns us to beware of the WOLF in sheep's clothing; so Dracula is the Antichrist? Note that the vampire eats flesh and blood, and Jesus of course tells us that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we will have no life in us: Dracula, the Antichrist, is the Un-dead.
In The Ancient Mariner recall the Mariner's words when he sees the ghost ship:" "I bit my arm, I sucked the blood, / And cried, "A sail, a sail!' " (Part II). Coleridge's Gloss describes this as a "dear ransom," and did not Jesus give us life to ransom us from sin? When the Mariner administers communion to himself, he is in mortal sin having killed the Albatross with a CROSSBOW, and thus he is damned. In The Pains of Sleep, Coleridge speaks of his nature "stained with sin". Notice the number of times in the novel when the communion Host is referenced. We know, for example, that it is used by Van Helsing to close the tomb of Lucy so that the "Un-dead" cannot enter. In the mad-Midrash existence of the Mariner and London infested with Dracula, the normal rules of reconciliation do not seem always to apply, and Stoker uses Biblical allusions plus the ghost plays of Shakespeare to dramatize a universe of moral decay. A telling dramatization of the psychological horror is in XXV when Van Helsing explains the nature of Dracula's criminal mind, and is so doing, does not neglect the theological context: "That terrible baptism of blood which he gives..." everyone he seduces parallels in a morally righteous context, the baptism of blood martyrs experience when they die for their faith.
On more than one occasion, however, very positive romantic sentiments of sacrifice to counter the evil unleashed by Dracula appear: Mina notes such values in her Journal (Chapter XXVII) as they approach Dracula's castle,
All day long we have traveled, and at a good speed., The horses seem to know that they are being kindly treated, for they go willingly, their full stage at best speed...Dr. Van Helsing is laconic; he tells the farmers that he is hurrying to Bistritz, and plays them well to make the exchange of horses. We get hot soup, or coffee, or tea; and off we go. It is a lovely country, full of beauties of all imaginable kinds, and the people are very brave, and strong, and simple, and seem full of nice qualities.
This is the romanticism of Wordsworth and (by the way) the Coleridge of The Eolian Harp.
Macbeth has been called Shakespeare's most concentrated study of evil., and interestingly enough Harold Bloom (Shakespeare the Invention of the Human) suggests that Macbeth is the character who most reminds us of ourselves: ("...we also have the sense that we are violating our own natures, as he does his.") Why? Other than the specific allusions to the sleepwalking scene of Lady Macbeth, the three sisters, and the fear of sleeping., is Dracula mimetic? Bloom notes of Macbeth that we "...discover him more vividly within us the more deeply we delve." (P. 545). Bloom is right: for what we may be looking and afraid to confront forms the essence of the Gothic quest. Do the following Macbeth issues have Dracula parallels. Bloom, in Chapter 26, speaks of:
Hamlet also invites interesting parallels. (A study of the play from the view of a malignant Ghost's coming to damn Hamlet's soul is Eleanor Prosser's Hamlet and Revenge.) At the very least, the play is a study in dialectic as Hamlet's favorite word is "OR:"
Before we begin....A poem by Phil Sheridan, (Class of 08)
Out in the Arctic chill
the lone wolf stalks his next kill.
If the prey dodge too late,
the claws will then eviscerate.
The teeth will rend
more than man can mend.
Man-flesh the wolf devours
to tame the hunger for several hours.
You wake in cold sweat.
It would seem that it was only just a dream.
Or was it?
Feeling pain you look in the mirror.
You discover you are missing an ear.
You now fear the loss of light
that accompanies the night.
For in your dreams, the "imaginary" strife
may very well cost you your life.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS BY CHAPTER...PAGE NUMBERS REFERENCE THE NORTON CRITICAL EDITION.
CHAPTERS 1 TO 4 ARE THE GOTHIC CHAPTERS...
CHAPTER ONE: JOURNAL OF HARKER
1. Harker tells us his journal is kept in shorthand. Why is that important?
2. What kind of language does the journal use and why? Note the irony.
3. What role do the peasants play as Harker approaches Draculas castle?
4. Why are wolves important?
5. Note in the chapter the importance of dreams / nightmares as with our other books.
6. How would Lockes epistemology function.
CHAPTER TWO: HARKERS JOURNAL CONTINUED
1. Note the description of Dracula; do the movies show the same features?
2. The count going to London will anticipate what at the end of the novel?
3. What is the importance of the blue flame, page 27?
4. Draculas estate is called Carfax (an allusion to an event regarding Wilde) What?
5. How does Harker relate to the shaving incident and the mirror? Why, philosophically does Stoker write it this way?
6. Note on page 30 the allusion to Hamlet.
7. That fact that Dracula sees mirrors as vanity is ironic. Why? There is a paradox, but in the gothic, events are not what they seem--he is sexual.
CHAPTER THREE- HARKERS JOURNAL CONTINUED
1. This chapter marks a terrifying descent into the nightmare world of Dracula with many overtones of lust, sex, rape, and homosexuality. Note the allusion to Macbeth.
2. What realization occurs to Harker in this chapter?
3. References to Draculas history (p. 33-5), involve blood and soil --ideas not lost on Hitler.
4. Despite the supernatural horrors around him, how does Harker continue to think?
5. On page 36, there is a hint of what will be a major horror later on--as with most ideas early in the book, it means much more than the appearance.
6. What does Harker observe in this chapter that would make it impossible for him to doubt that Dracula is not just human? Recall Darwin's influence. What does Dracula's ability imply?
7. Note the use of shorthand on page 40; why is that important?
8. The attempted seduction by the three female vampires suggests many themes as noted in question one. The sexual themes are blatant. What kinds of seduction occur: allusions to Macbeth are ever present.
CHAPTER FOUR - HARKERS JOURNAL CONTINUED
1. Observe that this the end of the chapter sequence in which we learn of Dracula
from Harkers view alone. Why do we not get the full picture? Why is the novels point of view so important here?
2. Discuss how dreaming vs. reality is important in this chapter and this dualism will reverberate throughout the text in connection with hypnosis.
3. Disguise is important--events are not as they seem; what does Dracula do here?
5. Pedophile-conduct will have important implications when Dracula is in London. Hence fragmented views occur while at the same time foreshadowing occurs. Another link to the next section of the novel is Harker's references to Mina, his wife and a future potential victim.
6. What is the flashback allusion to Macbeth? See footnote on page 52 and the text. What is the implication?
7. Note the color imagery on page 53. How did the change take place; what is the flashback to question 7 of chapter 2.
8. What "secret sin" may conclude this chapter-very much in Harker's subconscious?
CHAPTERS 5 TO 16--MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEW--FRAGMENTED KNOWLEDGE OF DRACULA
CHAPTER 5 - LETTERS FROM MINA AND LUCY
1. What do we learn of the two major women characters in their exchange of letters? Stoker works here with what two viewpoints concerning women in the 19th C.
2. Note the parallel to Macbeth concerning Duncan just before he enters Macbeths castle--lots of irony.
3. Notice the importance of technology, and why is it important that Mina know of it, while Jonathan is using shorthand, and note the irony in the first letter given what we know of chapters 1-4.
4. Do you see any potential difficulty for Lucy as you read her letter to Mina? (p. 57-9)
5. Characterize: Seward, Morris, and Holmwood.--whom does Lucy Select?
6. What is most important about Seward that we learn straight away?
CHAPTER 5 --THE DIARY OF DR. SEWARD
7. Note that the point of view shifts.
8. Why is there continuing emphasis on technology--have we seen Stoker in the process of creating a dialectic?
9. Sewards interest in a patient in his institution will have important implications for the remainder of the novel.
10. Characterize Renfield--with whom might his temperament be compared?
CHAPTER 6- MINAS JOURNAL
1. This chapter is important for what plot device--any historical parallels between 1066, 1588 and what almost happened in 1940.
2. Find out about Whitby in English history (Why did Stoker select this location for his invasion?
3. Compare Swales with a group of characters seen in the opening chapters. What is beyond the local color? Once again, Stoker uses irony with great skill.
CHAPTER 6-SEWARDS DIARY
4. Notice the allusion to Hamlet as Seward describes Renfields behavior. Characterize Renfield. What does he like to do, and why? Are there any biblical allusions?
5. In what sense is Renfield mad and perhaps not mad? May we argue that given the correct interpretation of the several allusions associated with his character that he might be the sanest character in the novel? Does he know something (given the multiple points of view that we do not know), including Seward?. Why are there so many reference to animals. What does "zoophagous" mean?
6. In a chapter on madness, note the subtle flashbacks to Minas concern for Jonathan.
7. On what does Mina rely for help unlike Jonathan. Why are her decisions important?
8. On page 72, what is the hint that Dracula is at work, and who is his victim? Why?
9. You will notice that this chapter concludes with an allusion to Coleridge. Which poem, and why the allusion?
CHAPTER 7--NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
1. Find out about the myth of Demeter--why did Stoker choose that name for the ship?
2. There are several allusions to Rime of the Ancient Mariner in the novel, including this chapter.
3. Notice in this chapter a great deal of macrocosmic imagery recalling the old man in Macbeth, Nature is troubled by mans act.
CHAPTER 7--THE LOG BOOK OF THE DEMETER
4. The point of view shifts for what purpose on board the ship?
5. Does the crew description of Dracula match what we saw in part one? (53/83)
6. How does Dracula behave on the ship--are there racist implications?
7. Are there implications in this chapter foreshadowing how Dracula may be defeated?
8. How does insanity play a role in this chapter? Relate to Renfield.
9. What role does the dog play at the end of the chapter?
CHAPTER 7--MINAS JOURNAL
10. What irony accompanies the death of Swales? Recall page 66.
11. Note the behavior of the dog at Swales funeral--animal imagery is a motif in this novel--recall as a parallel, the behavior of the Yahoos in Gulliver IV.
12. What does the chapter imply regarding Lucy? Recall two Macbeths allusions: Lady Macbeth's unsex me soliloquy and the sleepwalking scene.
CHAPTER 8--MINAS JOURNAL
1. This chapter actualizes some of the potential horror of the previous scenes. Give some examples, noting the sexual imagery and an important biblical allusion.
2. Note the footnote on page 86 relevant to the NEW WOMEN. Check what the term meant in the Victorian period. Who in the novel embodies the characteristics?
3. Mina's diary has serious feminist overtones--her role in intellectually calculating how to potentially destroy Dracula at the end of the novel both entices and horrifies Stoker. Depending on how Dracula is portrayed, the sexual overtones are important thematically. Comment.
4. What kind of language does Mina record to describe the sleepwalking scene with Lucy and Dracula? Note too the color imagery and Macbeth allusions.
5. What is the epistemological problem on page 92?
6. Dreams are an important foreshadowing motif as we saw with Frankenstein. Note their frequency; relate them to diction included reverie, mist, trance and sleep.
CHAPTER 8--LETTERS FROM BILLINGTON TO CARTER (LAWYERS)
6. Explain the references to the boxes. Note where Stoker places this letter--it is almost like the ring structure in Beowulf: what comes before and after is significant.
CHAPTER 8--MINAS JOURNAL AGAIN
7. What symbols does Stoker use to describe her encounter with Dracula?
8. Coleridges Kubla Khan could be an important allusion here.
CHAPTER 8--LETTER FROM SISTER AGATHA / SEWARD
9. The novel almost acquires a stream of consciousness character. We are afforded only brief, but terrifying glimpses of a terror only seen for the moment by its effects.
10. What is the purpose of the letter being located here? The news concerns...?
11. Notice in the P.S. (p. 95) the references to WOLVES, POISON, and BLOOD. Discuss the symbolism.
12. Why is Renfield compared to a dog? Who is the MASTER, and what is the biblical allusion?
13. In this chapter, there are repeated references to Dracula as the ANTI-CHRIST, and to what other figure important in the life of Christ are their allusions?
Dracula and art. Review the sculpture by Bernini, and its accompanying text. How do they dramatize Lucy's dream?
...Lucy recalls her encounter with ??:
"I didn't quite dream, but it all seemed to be real. I only wanted to be here in this spot. I don't know why, for I was afraid of something, I don't know what. I remember, though I suppose I was asleep, passing through the streets and over the bridge. A fish leaped as I went by, and I leaned over to look at it, and I heard a lot of dogs howling. The whole town seemed as if it must be full of dogs all howling at once, as I went up the steps. Then I had a vague memory of something long and dark with red eyes, just as we saw in the sunset, and something very sweet and very bitter all around me at once. And then I seemed sinking into deep green water, and there was a singing in my ears, as I have heard there is to drowning men, and then everything seemed passing away from me. My soul seemed to go out from my body and float about the air. I seem to remember that once the West Lighthouse was right under me, and then there was a sort of agonizing feeling, as if I were in an earthquake, and I came back and found you shaking my body. I saw you do it before I felt you."
St. Teresa writes,
Beside me on the left appeared an angel in bodily form . . . He was not tall but short, and very beautiful; and his face was so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest ranks of angels, who seem to be all on fire . . . In his hands I saw a great golden spear, and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire. This he plunged into my heart several times so that it penetrated my entrails. When he pulled it out I felt that he took them with it, and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God. The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one can not possibly wish it to cease, nor is one's soul content with anything but God. This is not a physical but a spiritual pain, though the body has some share in it -- even a considerable share." (St. Teresa, Autobiography, Chapter 29.)
CHAPTER 9--LETTER FROM MINA TO LUCY
1. In this chapter, the forces of good slowly begin to assemble--Stoker is foreshadowing the possible defeat of Dracula, and why is 'possible' the right word?
2. Why does Stoker use Whitby as the reunion for Mina and Jonathan? What else has happened there?
3. What epistemological systems are in conflict, and how will they have to be resolved? Note that Stoker gives Mina a major role in the resolution--this again can be given a feminist read.
4. How is Minas confiding in Lucy ironic, especially regarding the diary? What is Jonathans condition?
CHAPTER 9--LUCY TO MINA / SEWARDS DIARY /LUCYS DIARY / HOLMWOOD
5. Why is the change of tone, however temporary, important? Is there foreshadowing here?
6. Renfield's presence raises both Biblical and medical motifs. Explain. Note too the reference to a Bat, remembering that Darwin's influence, often misunderstood, was pervasive.
7. The dramatic irony continues--see the diagram above. Lucys description of what is happening to her from Dracula indicates what?
8. The fact that Arthur wants Seward to help Lucy suggests what limitation? Keep in mind the novels narrative technique?
9. There is an important empirical advance in this chapter. Read carefully the Seward
evaluation of Lucy. What does he diagnose, and what is his solution? (p. 106)
10. Characterize Van Helsing--compare his evaluation with Sewards.
11. What are the academic credentials of Van Helsing?
CHAPTER 9--LETTERS VAN HELSING / SEWARD / ARTHUR / SEWARD
12. What are the sexual implications of the Van Helsing letter (p. 106)?
13. Notice the salutations in letters from males to males.
14. What does Arthur believe regarding Lucy--what are the limitations?
15. Stoker continues to build irony upon irony--note the juxtaposition of the last entry to Sewards final comments in Chapter 9 regarding Renfield.
16. How is marriage used in this chapter that creates a contrast (100 / 101 / 103)
CHAPTER 10--SEWARD TO HOLMWOOD
1. Discuss the issue of madness and God ; note the allusion to Hamlet.
2. Does Van Helsing's description of Lucy differ substantially from Seward's? Why?
3. The evil in this chapter is presented how?
4. What is Stoker believe to be ironic regarding the treatment of Lucy--find out what Hamlet says to Horatio, There are more...
5. Obviously the most important motif in the novel is blood-note Stoker establishes a medical context here with Lucy needing transfusions. From whom does she get them, and why symbolically do the numbers matter? Read footnote #3 on page 113 in this chapter regarding the risk involving transfusions medically; blood typing was not known until the 1920's. Besides medically, what other risks are metaphorically dramatized?
CHAPTER 11--LUCYS DIARY
1. What do you note regarding the chronology in this chapter--see stream of consciousness.
2. What error occurs in this chapter? What is the mind set of the person who commits it, and why is that important? (philosophy / feminism)--see p. 124
CHAPTER 11-- NEWS PAPER ARTICLE (note the chronology)
1. What is the motif the article describes? Note the chronology.
CHAPTER 11- SEWARD / LUCY
2. Check the chronology again.
3. Why does Renfield do what he does in this section? Any allusions? Treat his actions, especially with Blood, as highly figurative; as noted before, what does he really want?
4. Blood imagery suggests a literary and biblical allusion
5. Relate the broken glass in the diary to the newspaper article--and Lucy
CHAPTER 12 - SEWARD
1. We have noted the sexual implications of the Dracula scenes--what happens here?
2. Note how science is unable to prevent Dracula from acting.
3. Why is Morris heroic?
4. Animal imagery again appears reminding us of Draculas work.
5. Study the description of Lucy on page 139.
CHAPTER 12 - MINAS LETTER / MEDICAL REPORT
1. Why is the letter ironic?--but is there hope here?
2. Look at the biblical allusion regarding Renfield--explain it.
CHAPTER 12 - MINA TO LUCY / SEWARD
3. What cannot be explained scientifically regarding Lucy as she lay near death? What about the transfusions effectiveness symbolically? When for example, males are anxious about giving blood or in competition with one another to do so, what are the implications?
4. Lucy of courses dies in this chapter--what motif is associated with her death that we have seen all along? (But also look at page 146 again).
5. What does IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING mean, epistemologically?
CHAPTER 13 - SEWARD
1. This chapter contains an idea that even by today's standards, would be difficult to take? Why does Lucy look more beautiful dead?
2. Note how Van Helsing and Seward continue to disagree--each has a different perspective.
3. Paradoxically in relation to question one, there is another force at work here.
CHAPTER 13--HARKER / SEWARD / NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
4.. Why is it important that these events be narrated from a feminist perspective? Note especially Mina's comparison of Jonathan and Dracula. Why symbolically is her husband afraid?
5 .Study the sexual imagery carefully. What is the importance of SLEEP metaphorically?
6. Now yet another point of view--what is the purpose of newspaper article--what do we know (from a more omniscient perspective) that someone just reading the paper would not know?
7 . What does BLOOFER LADY mean, philosophically?
CHAPTER 14--HARKERS JOURNAL / LETTERS
1. There is a theme in LORD OF THE RINGS that evil defeats itself; how does Stoker use the same idea regarding Dracula right at the moment he seems to be gaining victims. Boethius might help here. See key words leading up to a Hamlet allusion on page 166. As the novel progresses, however, what irony might be involved if we consider Dracula as a multi-layered shadow?
2. What is physiognomy? (p. 168) Recall Chaucer?
3. Stoker seems to have an affinity for the way Van Helsing address Seward (p. 170), to what does this lead? Note that Seward is doing the narration.
4. What might ultimately kill Dracula if that is what happens?
5. The forces of good are slowing gaining momentum as we move to Chapter 17 how? Note too whether we are too much oversimplifying by categorizing actions and characters as good OR evil. Would good AND evil make more sense?
CHAPTER 15-- SEWARD / LETTER
1. The grotesqueness of Dracula continues in this chapter...how?
2. What is ironic about the way Seward responds to what he is told at the end of the previous chapter?
4. What should convince Seward of their great danger, and why doesnt it? (176)
5. The word UN-DEAD was coined by Stoker as used on page 179.
6. Discuss the epistemology on page 181.
7. Note that here and in the following chapters, these ideas, mimetic of the culture, are dramatized:
Victorian funeral practices,
Little Red Riding Hood
hypnosis, mesmerism and physiognomy
7. Note the same error occurs again on page 181--why? The answer on page 183.
8. State the novel’s conflict thus far in philosophical and psychological terms...
1. Critics have noted powerful sexual imagery in this chapter--relate to the Victorian attitudes from the perspectives we have studied.
2. The communion host is used how in this chapter?
3. Trace the sexual symbolism in detail especially noting the animus symbol and who uses it, keeping in mind what Dracula represents. Notice how the conclusion of the chapter anticipates the turning point to follow.
CHAPTER 17--(THE TURNING POINT CHAPTER- TO THE END OF THE NOVEL). WHO IS PRESENT?
1. Why in terms of form and content is this chapter different from five to sixteen? How is the chapter different in terms of style?
2. Who is present, and what does each bring to the task of defeating Dracula?
3. Discuss the flashback to a link on page 50.
4. Discuss how the point of view changes in this chapter--how would John Locke view how Stoker has written this chapter?
5. Notice who is most perceptive in the chapter? Why? Look for key words he/she (?) uses to foreshadow why Dracula might lose.
6. How does Renfield behave in this chapter, and why? Note that the WHY is one of the most important turning points in the novel? Note how Mina is involved and the effect here presence has on Renfield. Don't forget who is never out of sight.
7. Give a pro- and antifeminist read of the chapter--what view does Stoker seem to favor?
1. Study this chapter in terms of...
a. what is catalogued
b. what a feminist would say?
c. how homosexuality may function
2. What two kinds of weapons (generically speaking) will be used to attempt to defeat Dracula? Is there any character who seems to embody both, or at lest recognize the need to use both--in other words to make a synthesis?
3. What interrupts the groups discussion of strategy and tactic? (Irony again...)
4. What does Renfield want, and why? As noted above, WHY is one of the most important turning points in the novel? Note how Mina is involved and the effect here presence has on Renfield. Don't forget who is never out of sight. Do we have enough clues to understand why he threatens Seward?
1. What does this chapter have in common with the MONK?
2. Is Harkers perspective the same as Van Helsings?--What perspective does he still bring to the quest?
3. The grotesque setting matches what microcosmically that is truly alarming regarding Mina. Why is she pale, or more importantly, how did this happen given her intelligence? What symbolically might the culture be articulating?
4. Notice that the same motifs that imply the presence of Dracula appear again...they are?
1. Contrast Renfields behavior with the last time we saw him.
2. Why does Renfield especially hate Van Hesling-recall a scene in THE EXORCIST.
3. Remember, though, that Renfield cannot be read on as literal. What might Stoker really be dramatizing by institutionalizing him? Why will he want to escape? Is he the most wise, a transcendental figure worthy of pity?
CHAPTER 19--MINA HARKER
4. Minas notes record a dream--describe its contents, and keep in mind what Freud was doing.
5. What is alarming and essential about the way Renfield sees Mina? Is her response a weakness? This is one of the novel's important paradoxes.
6. What has happened to Mina and why? Keep the vocabulary in mind (pp. 226 ff): "mist", "my dream was peculiar" (There are multiple meanings here, one of which is an important motif suggested by Van Helsing and Mina herself.), "red eye"?
7. Of what must Mina be careful as the chapter ends?
8. How does this chapter foreshadow an event in chapter 23?
CHAPTER 20--JONATHAN HARKER
1. Notice that the quest for the boxes of earth continues--why by the way are they so important?
2. What again is the influence of Freud again?
3. Do Harker and Seward know what is wrong with Mina, and again is WRONG the correct word given Victorian cultural complexities
4. Define destiny.
5. Renfield is a complicated character--what is his mood here? Do we know the source of his madness? What happens to Renfield and why? Is he in a very real sense a martyr? Recall that the church recognized three kinds of baptism, one of which is baptism of blood. The symbolism is complex. What biblical allusion might be suggested? Define the connotations of PATHETIC on page 237 and HIGHER LIFE on page 239.
6.Aristotle says that we should feel pity and fear for a heroic character. Do we here?
7. Note the allusion to Hamlet here.
8. What makes the ending of this section so terrifying? Give it a moral-ethical read.
1. This chapter is one of the most sexually explicit in the novel. What happens?
2. Note what Renfields condition is in this chapter. This chapter flashes back to earlier episodes and provides some explanation for Renfields behavior: explain.
3. Why was Dracula interested in Renfield (p. 245)? Note that one feature of evil vs. good is that the evil treat people as means, not ends (see Kant)
4. Note the scientific and religious and sexual language that concludes the chapter.
5. What Victorian values are being dramatized here? Why is page 251 so essential?
6. Some details:
1. This chapter has what expository information that makes it appear the good is losing? What does Dracula, however, miscalculate?
2. Biblical imagery in this chapter is very important; involving the host. What occurs?
3. Note the same theme that Tolkien will use regarding good and that is on paged 260.
4. Why is Carfax so important--recall what the name means..
1. The novel takes more of a turn to the supernatural (as the bleeding nun episode in the MONK) when what happens regarding Mina? How too does she take, along with Van Helsing, the moral high road in this chapter? Keep in mind, however, that a moral read of the novel is NOT the same necessarily as a psychological one. See Jung's Answer to Job.
2. Note too how Morris attempts heroism; what will this foreshadow at the end?.
3. We have seen descriptions of Dracula before. Compare with the one in this chapter?-- ( see pages: 23 / 31 / 266)--how do the descriptions use sexual imagery?
4. Through symbol and phobia-motivated descriptions, Stoker explicates Victorian sexual mores again. Who is afraid of whom, and why? Would men find Mina's actions welcome or embarrassing symbolically? What stereotypes are evident on page 268: "Oh my poor darling...Lay your poor head here and rest it. All will yet be well..."
5. What explains the great anger on page 269--this too was a part of Victorian mores? (p______ e______)
6. What does new order mean at the beginning of the chapter?
7. This chapter speaks of Dracula having a "great child brain" (p. 264). Find out who Cesare Lombroso was, and what he might be called today. The link cites a Stanford University study.
CHAPTER 23--HARKERS JOURNAL
7. Harker accedes to Mina's request that she be hypnotized. Flashback to chapter 19, pages 226-7; does Mina understand the nature of the risk?
8.. What is learned, that once again shows evil defeats itself?
9. What motivated the request for the hypnosis, and what is learned that aids the good as they track down Dracula, but keep in mind the danger. Symbolically or metaphorically, what might the animus be saying to the anima?
CHAPTER 24--SEWARD (PHONOGRAPH DIARY)
1. Note the use of technology.
2. This chapter anticipates the kind of language and themes Hitler frequently used in his speeches. What is xenophobia? How is Dracula defined?
3. Page 278 very much anticipates Mein Kampf.
4. What continues to happen to Mina in this chapter, and is she fighting it? If so, from what perspective?
5. Note the feminist read on p. 284.
1. Note that Mina continues to become one of two dominant personalities planning the demise of Dracula. How is this evident?
2. Do you see evidence of racism in the chapter?
3. How is science evidenced in this chapter? WILL that be the way to conquer Dracula? Note that Seward is the writer.
4. What does Mina request, and why?
5. Why is the word SKEPTIC so important on page 288? Who is speaking?
CHAPTER 25--HARKERS JOURNAL / SEWARD'S DIARY
1. What does the lack of technology suggest?
2. Hypnosis was taken seriously in Victorian England combining ___ and ___?
3. What risk does Mina take?
4. Why is it ironic that Seward would talk about transcendentalism?
5. Look very carefully in this chapter regarding the following...
a. the criminal brain
b. the child brain
c. the philosophy of crime
d.crime and race (recall Hitler again)
e.sexual and racial implications anticipate Mein Kampf's litanies of pure Aryan blood being corrupted by racial inferiors from the east, as Hitler describes.
f. what is the epistemology and medicine here? What would a modern criminologist (such as on CSI) say? Check again the Lombroso link cited above and see pages 294-297. Interestingly, the phrase "baptism of blood" appears (297). Obviously the symbolism is complex and multi-dimensional. Hitler noted that in pursuing Jews to their extinction, he was doing the Lord's work!!
g. are there characters in Shakespeare that remind you of those being discussed here?
CHAPTER 26--SEWARD / MINA / HARKER
1. There is no doubt that Minas skill in tracking Dracula is indispensable--feminism?
a. what do we learn of her on page 303?
b. what themes are dramatized on pages 304 ff.
c. note that even Van Helsing is impressed--with what?.
2. Note the shifting points of view here...what is dramatized?
3. With intelligence comes great risk--there is another device here Tolkien will later use in LOTR.
4. Van Helsing has a plan...? Jonathan is horrified...? Why is he beyond the obvious? What does Mina decide?
5. Does Dracula have a weakness?
CHAPTER 27--VAN HELSING
1. Note the setting of the last chapter--has the novel come full circle?
a. the environment
b. Comment on the allusions to Macbeth again (think "3")
c. compare and contrast this chapters with the first four--do we have a frame story?
2. Do you think that spiritual or scientific techniques are being used here?
3. Describe the novels final moments...
a. what happens to Dracula, and what symbols are involved?
b. how is the final chapter mimetic of Victorian culture--especially of the three sexual sins with which we began our inquiry?
c. what is the state of Dracula's soul, and the souls of those who interact with him?
d. are we back in the rational world?--think reconciliation of opposites
e. who is most responsible for Dracula's demise, or is it correct to argue demise?
f. comment on the importance of the following:
- the archetypes: descent, journey, shadow
- sexuality of the three female vampires and their effect on the males
- how are the three female vampires dispatched if they are?
- Look carefully at the concluding pages:
- Morris and the bowie knife
- what does PEACE mean (p. 235)
- and perhaps the most important question: is Dracula really dead? Can he be killed? How does he live on--physically, morally, psychologically?
- What does Dracula ultimately represent?
It would be interesting to view the Roman Polanski direction of Macbeth--his blending of horror, blood atrocities, and sexual lusts of the criminal mind might offer Dracula parallels. How many of the Bloom observations do you see in the novel and film? Are there vampiric elements in Shakespeare?
Hamlet demands to see the ghost, which if evil warns Horatio, could change its shape and cast Hamlet to his doom. Yet, Hamlet, "desperate with imagination" proceeds. Does he lust for what the ghost knows? Bloom believes that Hamlet's intellect and passion transcends every other Shakespearean character? How gothic a character is Hamlet?
Does Dracula have a happy (moral) ending? Are the opposites reconciled? How does the Rime of the Ancient Mariner end?
What would the following perspectives add to the interpretation of the novel:
a. a feminist
b. a medical doctor
c. a priest
d. a businessman
e. a conservative?