research essay

Evil in Dracula Ch. 8-14

  • The negative connotations associated with bats stems from the Medieval folklore about witches and their connection to bats  
  • The “evil” designation and later association with vampires their status as nocturnal animals  
  • The species designated as “vampire bat” which lives primarily in Central and South America was unknown to Europeans during the Victorian Era when Stoker was writing about vampires and bats  

Bats!

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Bats!

  • On August 10, Mina wakes up and sees that Lucy’s bed is empty (at night!) and she goes outside to find Lucy and sees her in the churchyard, reclining on her favorite bench with a dark figure bending over her  
  • As Mina approaches, the figure looks toward her, exposing a pale face and gleaming red eyes  
  • When Lucy wakes, Mina finds “two little red points like pin-pricks” on her friend’s neck 

Chapter 8

Chapter 8

  • After this episode, Lucy’s sleepwalking seemed to get worse and Mina tries to stop Lucy from leaving the bedroom by locking the door 
  • They go for a walk and see the dark figure in the graveyard (death) and Lucy notes the red eyes 
  • That night, Mina awakes to find Lucy sitting up in bed, pointing to the window and when Mina looks outside she sees a large bat in the moonlight  
  • Lucy sleeps peacefully after the bat departs 

Protecting Lucy

Protecting Lucy

  • During the next few days, Lucy grows pale (recall the original description of Dracula himself as pale) and the puncture wounds at her throat grow larger  
  • Mina really starts to worry at this point – Lucy’s state of mind and physical health seems to be deteriorating and her fiancée is still missing  

Lucy’s Declining Health

Lucy’s Declining Health

  • Mina’s journal entry is followed by a letter from a Whitby solicitor, ordering the boxes of earth from the Demeter to be delivered to the estate that Dracula has purchased  
  • There is no more mystery regarding the ‘tall thin man’ from the ship that didn’t look like the other crewmen – we can confirm that this intruder was count Dracula  

Whitby Solicitor

Whitby Solicitor

  • Lucy’s health seems to be slowly getting better  
  • News comes that Jonathan has appeared in a Hungarian hospital because he was suffering from brain fever  
  • A nun in that works in the hospital writes to Mina that Harker has been rambling incoherently due to some type of stress or shock to his psychological state and that he has mentioned things like wolves, poison, blood, ghosts, and demons  
  • Mina prepares to travel to Romania 

Mina’s News

Mina’s News

  • The narrative shifts to John Seward’s accounts of his patient Renfield, who has become violent and maniacal and he tells the doctor that “the Master is at hand.” (ie. coincides with Dracula’s arrival) 
  • Renfield escapes and runs to the estate that Dracula purchased and Dr. Seward finds him pressing against the door of the mansion’s chapel, calling out to his master and promising obedience  

Dr. Seward

Dr. Seward

  • The pin-pricks on Lucy’s neck confirm that she has been ‘infected’ by Dracula (‘contagion’ or ‘impurity’) 
  • Lucy is now depicted as a helpless ‘damsel in distress’ figure while Mina is really the only female character that possesses any strength or intelligence 
  • Renfield’s strange behaviour serves to reinforce the “power” that Dracula seems to have over people (ie. as a supernatural force of evil) 

Analysis

Analysis

  • Mina writes from Romania, telling Lucy that Jonathan is experiencing amnesia and memory loss about his time there 
  •  Jonathan is still in possession of his diary and knows that the cause of his brain fever is recorded in it 
  • He turns the diary over to Mina, making her promise that she will never mention what is written there unless some “solemn duty” requires it – they seal it and decide to get married immediately 

Chapter 9

Chapter 9

  • Meanwhile, Renfield has become more docile, repeatedly mumbling, “I can wait; I can wait.”  
  • But he escapes again and turns up once more at the door of the chapel at Carfax 
  • When Dr. John Seward follows with his attendants, Renfield moves to attack, but grows calm at the sight of a great bat sweeping across the face of the moon (opposite reaction of Lucy) 

Renfield

Renfield

  • In the next section we get some insight into Lucy’s state of mind because she begins a diary, in which she records bad dreams and recounts that something scratches at her window in the night  
  • Lucy has become pale and weak (again) and the men call Dr. Van Helsing after Seward can’t make a diagnosis 
  • He does a quick exam and determines Lucy is losing blood but can’t figure out why – he travels back home to Amsterdam but returns shortly when Lucy’s condition becomes worse 

Van Helsing

Van Helsing

  • Lucy’s transformation begins – from a pure virginal maiden into a figure of overt female sexuality – almost a predatory character  
  • The binary between good and evil becomes slightly blurred during Lucy’s transformation – is she good? Is she bad? Is she both? How does her sexuality contribute to her transformation? 
  • At this point, ‘good women’ = pure, chaste, virginal 
  • Lucy seems to be shifting away from this ideal 

Analysis

Analysis

  • When Van Helsing arrives to find Lucy terribly pale and unable to breathe easily, he transfuses Holmwood’s blood into Lucy  
  • Though Seward is convinced that these wounds caused her severe loss of blood, he can offer no explanation for them  
  • Van Helsing orders Seward to stay up with Lucy that night and Lucy awakes feeling much restored (ie. presence of ‘good’ where Seward is the apotropaic device) 

Chapter 10

Chapter 10

  • But the next night when Seward falls asleep he and Van Helsing find Lucy pale and completely drained of strength in the morning  
  • Seward performs another transfusion, this time providing the blood himself – transfer of blood  
  • The battle between good and evil is happening in Lucy’s body and she is the medium for this struggle  

Lucy as the Field of Battle

Lucy as the Field of Battle

  • Van Helsing orders Lucy to wear white garlic flowers around her neck as a means of protection 
  • Seward is sceptical at this intervention 
  • Historically, garlic has been associated with health and restorative powers but how garlic becomes the tool of choice to ward off vampires is not clear 

Use of Garlic as Protective Device

Use of Garlic as Protective Device

  • Seward’s inability to diagnose or stem the progression of Lucy’s illness demonstrates the effectiveness of Dracula’s assault on normative Victorian social protocol and also exposes the limits of Western science and reason  
  • Although Van Helsing proves himself a competent medical professional by performing one blood transfusion after another, neither his methods nor his knowledge are restricted to the teachings of Western medicine 

Analysis

Analysis

  • In the morning, Van Helsing and Seward rush to their patient to find her near death because certain flowers were removed from her room  
  • Only another blood transfusion from Van Helsing resuscitates her (the third source of male blood!)  
  • Van Helsing issues a warning to Lucy’s mother not to remove anything from her room 

Chapter 11

Chapter 11

  • A newspaper clipping reports that a large wolf escaped from the Zoological Gardens  
  • Seward’s September 17 diary entry reports that Renfield attacks the young doctor in his office, and cuts his wrist. Renfield proceeds to lick up the blood, and repeats, over and over, the phrase, “The blood is the life!”  

Strange Occurrences

Strange Occurrences

  • On the night of the wolf’s escape, Lucy awakens, frightened by a flapping at the window and a howling outside – the window shatters and the wolf appears 
  • Terrified, Lucy’s mother tears the garlic wreath from her daughter’s neck and suffers a fatal heart attack  
  • As Lucy loses consciousness, she sees the wolf draw his head back from the window and hides her diary entry in her clothing so “they shall find it when they come to lay me out.”  

Lucy & the Wolf

Lucy & the Wolf

  • Lucy’s blood transfusions occur frequently and they serve two important metaphorical functions  
  • First, the transfusions confirm the moral purity of the men who give the blood; The blood itself is morality and purity in liquid form  
  • Second, the transfusions hint at a kind of sexual intimacy that Victorian society prevented Stoker from writing about openly in the 1890s – The transfer of the men’s blood into Lucy’s veins has physiological effects similar to those of sex – the draining of bodily fluid from the man  
  • But Lucy is only restored temporarily (ie. fatal flaw?) 

Analysis

Analysis

  • Arriving at Lucy’s the next day, Van Helsing and Seward find the scene of destruction: the maids unconscious on the dining room floor, Lucy’s mom is dead, and Lucy once again at death’s door, with terrible, mangled wounds at her neck  
  • Neither of the men can spare any more blood, but Lucy’s third suitor, Quincey Morris, appears and agrees to provide blood for yet another transfusion 
  • They still can’t figure out the connection between blood loss and the wounds on her neck because there is no evidence of blood loss at the site   

Chapter 12

Chapter 12

  • Mina writes a letter informing Lucy that she and Jonathan have married and have returned to England although at this point she doesn’t know about any of these terrible events  
  • Dr. Seward’s assistant writes to tell him that Renfield escaped again and attacked two men carrying boxes of earth from Dracula’s estate  

Plot Developments

Plot Developments

  • Van Helsing surrounds his dying patient with garlic, but she pushes the flowers away as she sleeps  
  • When Seward checks on Lucy during the night, he notices a bat hovering near her window  
  • The wounds on Lucy’s neck disappear and they sense that Lucy is nearing the end of her life, so the doctors awaken Holmwood and bring him to say good-bye  

Final Transformation

Final Transformation

  • In a seductive voice, Lucy begs Holmwood to kiss her, but Van Helsing pulls him away, instructing him to kiss Lucy only on the forehead  
  • Holmwood complies with Van Helsing’s instructions, and Lucy dies, recovering in death the ‘beauty’ that she lost during her long illness  

Lucy’s Death

Lucy’s Death

  • The disappearance of Lucy’s wounds and her physical death signify the completion of her transformation 
  • Dracula’s attack has transformed a model of English chastity and purity into an openly sexual predator  
  • When Holmwood visits Lucy for the last time, her physical appeal startles him: “she looked her best, with all the soft lines matching the angelic beauty of her eyes.” Equally startling is the newfound forwardness with which she demands sexual satisfaction: “Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!”  

Analysis

Analysis

  • Lucy’s burial: Van Helsing covers the coffin and body with garlic and places a crucifix in Lucy’s mouth  
  • He tells a confused Seward that after the funeral, they must cut off Lucy’s head and take out her heart but the next day they discover the crucifix is gone 
  • Looking at Lucy’s unnaturally beautiful corpse, Holmwood cannot believe she is really dead  

Chapter 13

Chapter 13

  • Mina writes in her diary that in London she and Jonathan have seen a tall, fierce man with a black mustache and beard and Jonathan is convinced the man is Count Dracula – causes a reaction in Harker 
  • Mina decides she must read his diary entries from his time in Transylvania and the same night Mina find’s out about Lucy’s death 

The Journal

The Journal

  • This message is followed by an excerpt from a local paper, which reports that a number of children have been temporarily abducted in Hampstead Heath—the area where Lucy was buried—by a strange woman whom the children call the “Bloofer Lady.”  
  • When the children come home after encountering this woman they have strange wounds on their necks  
  • The term “bloofer” is most likely a child’s mispronunciation of the word beautiful, which of course seems to illustrate a link to the recently deceased Lucy  

The Bloofer Lady

The Bloofer Lady

  • Lucy is contrasted with Mina where the former is presented as a danger or perversion of ideal womanhood while Mina is the ideal (sweet, noble, and modest according to Van Helsing) 
  • Lucy’s fatal flaw: her sexual desire 
  • Recalling Van Helsing’s lesson in vampire lore, we know that Dracula is powerless to enter a home unless invited – so Dracula would not have been able to access Lucy’s bedroom unless she invited him in (responsibility?) 

Analysis

Analysis

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