Dracula Ch. 8-10: It’s Probably Just A Flesh Wound

Spoilers through Chapter 10 of Dracula.

“We are hedged in with difficulties.” – Jack Seward 

 

We get one “new” perspective in this section, albeit a short one, with the letters concerning the shipment of boxes. I love how the delivery company is like “yeah sure we’ll deliver these giant boxes to this “partially ruined building” (119), it’s your business if your stuff gets ruined from exposure.” These foreigners don’t know how to care for their possessions, am I right.

Dracula has been MIA lately, unless that’s him as a bat/large bird (???) that is outside of Lucy’s window a couple of times (116/117). I wish the dates in the book were more consistent, because it would be fun to line up Renfield’s behavior with what Dracula might be doing at the time based on what’s happening with Lucy.

I really enjoy Seward’s understatements regarding Renfield, eg “a strong Man with homicidal and religious mania at once might be dangerous” (123) and about his mood swings: “it would almost seem as if there was some influence which came and went” (131-2).

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YOU THINK, JACK?

Anyway, back to our friends.

“Some of ‘New Woman’ writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the New Woman won’t condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it, too!” (110-111)

The New Woman that Mina refers to was the term used to describe the emerging group of women, mostly middle class, who were interested in crazy things like voting or working or simply being independent. I can’t really tell how much Mina approves or disapproves of the whole idea. DISCUSS?

Jonathan is back, our dear Jon full of all “his sweetness and gentleness” (123). some of the images in this book are great, and Jon running into the train station screaming about monsters is one of them. I like how Mina feels secure about “no other woman” (128) being in between her and Jon, but the argument can be made that there are THREE women and a man between them. It’s probably fine though. JUST READ THE DAMN JOURNAL, MINA.

I’m impressed with Stoker’s choices of perspectives. For example, I’m glad we don’t get Arthur or Morris (maybe later, I forget). Seward’s perspective is enough to show us all of the Lucy Fanclub feelings, and his job as mental asylum doctor is a lot more plot-relevant than anything Arthur or Morris are doing. I’m also glad we don’t get Van Helsing (maybe later, I forget), as it would kill a lot of the slow-build suspense that is working really well at this point in the story.

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Lucy’s “dream” of her sleepwalking episode is terrifying and claustrophobic and I love it.

I was trying to find out info on chloral hydrate, the thing Seward is taking because he is incredibly emo and upset over Lucy (124). Apparently it’s an early sedative, which sounds totally fine to take to cure insomnia. Don’t do drugs, Jack.

The blood transfusions are really interesting and horrifying. BLOOD TYPES ARE A THING. But it’s interesting how much importance they place on the act; Jack continues to have no chill about anything: “Jack has absolutely no chill “No man knows till he experiences it, what it is to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the veins of the woman he loves” (154) and Van Helsing is concerned that Arthur will be jealous if he knows Jack has also given Lucy blood.

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everyone needs to calm down tbh

Speaking of Van Helsing, THIS GUY. One of the first things he said in his first letter makes my head spin:

“Tell your friend that when that time you suck from my wound so swiftly the poison of the gangrene from that knife that our other friend, too nervous, let slip, you did more for him when he wants my aids and you call for them than all his great fortune could do.” (137)

I have no idea what he’s saying, there. Who sucked gangrene from where because who was dropping a knife? How would sucking it from a knife help, I don’t understand, send help.

Jack’s letter: “Everything is fine pretty much”

Arthur: *BURSTS INTO THE ROOM* “DON’T LIE TO ME”

Van Helsing: “Great we need your blood”

But Van Helsing is a really helpful addition to their crew, seeing as no one has the first clue what is going on, except maybe Renfield, and no one is giving that guy the time of day. I mean, at least he knows the useful properties of common garlic.


I had to google “the smuts of London” (138) because I had no idea what Van Helsing was saying but it sounded dirty. I guess I was sorta right.

Seward quotes “The unexpected always happens” (132) which is helpful to remember  in many situations including but not limited to  when your friends are being hunted by vampires. If you’re unfamiliar with Benjamin Disraeli, he’s a pretty important Victorian-era dude.

 

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Dracula Readalong

Dracula by Bram Stoker (in which Mina and her many boyfriends hunt monsters) has all the spine-tingles of a good horror story and all the wordcraft of a classic. I’m rereading one of my favorite books, starting September 5th. I’m hoping to finish by Halloween, as if right and proper. Please join me!

The Schedule: img_1779
9/13: Finish Chapter 3
9/20: Finish Chapter 7
9/27: Finish Chapter 10
10/4: Finish Chapter 14
10/11: Finish Chapter 17
10/18: Finish Chapter 20
10/25: Finish Chapter 24
10/31:Finish Chapter 27

I’ll be posting here a couple of times a week with quotes, questions, and random observations/commentary. Any page number references will be to my copy, the Barnes and Noble 2003 paperback.  I might do some extra reading on JSTOR or other weird places; if I find anything interesting, I’ll link it.

Starter question: Have you read Dracula before? Is there an edition or cover that you particularly love? I keep meaning to take a peek at The New Annotated Dracula because it sounds hilarous and awesome.