Monday, 13 December 2010


The idea of dreams and the merging of reality is a commonly recurring theme throughout Dracula. The character of Jonathon Harker is first to be subjected to this merging of reality and dream like state. On page 41 regarding his encounter with Dracula’s wives he recalls “I suppose I must have fallen asleep...what followed was startlingly real”. This emphasises Jonathon losing touch of what is real and what is fantasy, illustrating the confusion surrounding his lifelike encounters. The character that is most commonly subject to this bizarre illusion is Lucy Westenra. Lucy’s sleepwalking habits demonstrate her everyday life composure with that of a dream like state of mind, one which she is obviously not in control of, demonstrated by her sleepwalking attire. When on the cliff with Mina, Lucy recalls an encounter in a ‘dream like state’, noted by Mina, quoting “His red eyes again they are just the same”. The mixture between the past and the present and the presence of Dracula causing this confusion within her state of mind, almost like a trance, again illustrating the recurring theme of losing control to dreams, and the joining of reality and fantasy. Mina also provokes dream like imagery when trying to run to Lucy, she remarks that her feet are ‘like led’, similarly to what we feel when we try to run in our dreams and holds illusion connotations.

Throughout this idea we notice that Dracula has the ability to corrupt his victims minds, and causes them to fall in to a trance in which he takes advantage of them, and encourages them to act to his demands. On page 104 Mina remarks in regards to Lucy, “and saw that she was in a half dreamy state”, it is obvious that the mysterious ‘dark figure’, Dracula, has provoked this behaviour within Lucy, which strongly links to the nigh time, his domain, in which he is most powerful, which is arguably why he always strikes in the nightime (other than he can’t go out in the daylight). He also controls his victims accordingly, on page 176, Mina quotes “The moment she became conscious, she pressed the garlic flowers close to her...Whenever she got in to that lethargic state she put the flowers from her”, suggesting that Dracula is in control of her actions. Dracula also arguably acknowledges this idea of the night, danger and dreams, just not in an explicit manor. On page 36 he says to Jonathon “Do not sleep in any other parts of the castle... Be warned”. Dracula acknowledges that Harker is vulnerable in the castle during the night, and in turn may encourage him or the reader to believe that with the nigh time comes the recurring theme of dreams and danger, and susceptibility to evil.

It is also noticeable that most of the characters actually have trouble sleeping, and it has a knock on affect on others. Lucy in particular, “I tried to go to sleep but could not, there comes to me the old fear of sleep.” Suggests she is aware how vulnerable she is in the night time also. Due to Dracula keeping him up all night talking, and his creepy encounter with the wives and wolves and such, Harker also has trouble sleeping and becomes nocturnal. He says that his is in ‘nocturnal existence”, and influence which Dracula has on him. Dracula’s affect on Lucy in the night in turn provokes Mina to lose sleep of keeping her safe, and also the other characters who keep guard over Lucy in the night.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Notes on Chapter 8 and recurring themes

There is an immediate sense of characterisation in chapter 8 with regards to Mina. Her character connotes a strong sense of innocence, when she remarks “I am so happy” and also the way in which she often uses words such as ‘sweet’ to describe people and places, for example Lucy when she’s sleeping, and the Inn. She also uses the phrase “bless them” which could arguably illustrate a very forgiving temperament to her character. When fearing what has happened to Lucy Mina remarks “A vague overmasking fear...obscures all detail”, a reluctance to express her fear of what may have happened to Lucy such as rape, emphasises Mina’s innocence. Mina also refuses to show even her feet in public and resorts to covering them with mud on the walk home in case they should encounter anyone. Lucy is described to have ‘the obedience of a child’, making her seem very vulnerable.

However we go from a sense of innocence to that of fear. Note also that the fearful setting is almost always darkness, Dracula’s domain, creating a more ominous atmosphere. There is also the church setting which could imply marital imagery. This along with the descriptions of Lucy as a ‘white figure’, suggests a wedding dress and purity (pure – being a virgin – sex before marriage is when you are seen as un clean). The ruined abbey could implicate some sort of corrupted marriage ceremony, Dracula; the man in black, as the groom. --- This then links also to Lucy’s later state when she is laid in bed ‘heavily breathing’ and she moans. This could imply that she is recovering from a sexual act as she expresses that of being in exertion. There is also “A drop of blood on her night dress” which could link to her being ‘de-virginised’, as one would often be on their honeymoon - Supports the idea of the heavy marital imagery in chapter 8.

There is arguable sexual imagery. Some consider the exchange of the bodily fluids to be very sexual creating an undertone within the chapter. Could argue that cliff tops are a romantic setting, she is also only wearing a nightdress which for that time would have been frowned upon and very abnormal behaviour. The idea of her being in a dream like state throughout this exchange of bodily fluids may also relate to the idea of corruption within innocent characters such as Lucy and Mina and possibly erotic dreams and fantasy.

Narrative irony is very strong within this chapter along with idea of reality being merged with dreams. When looking at Lucy’s bleeding throat Mina notes a “piercing of the throat”, yet naively believe it was her who caused the wound. We know as the reader that Lucy has been victimised by Dracula. ‘A dark seated figure’ which the reader knows to be Dracula seems to have a power over Lucy, whereby he can control her state of reality. He seems to provoke a dream like state within his victims, which also links to his domain of the night. As Lucy is in this state she remarks, “His red eyes again, they are just the same”, narrative irony as we know it is Dracula, yet Mina believes it is the way the sun is reflecting of the figures eyes, also the recurring theme of the merging of her state of mind with her previous dreams and the present. There is also the idea of Mina describing her ‘feet being like led’ which suggests her reality merging with a dream like state, as it is similar to when you try to run in a dream but cannot move.