CSCL 1001 Dracula, day two Why do you suppose Stoker chose to include so many different "protector" characters in his novel? What do these different men seem to represent? Discussion Question Arthur Holmwood (aristocrat), Dr. Seward (middle class professional), Jonathan Harker (clerk/solicitor—a social climber), Van Helsing (a continental doctor/professor) and Quincey Morris (an American cowboy/financier). The novel presents us with a community of modern Western character types (caricatures?) arrayed against the Eastern threat of the vampire—a monster from a pre-modern time and place. Discussion Question What sorts of things are found in Dracula's library? What does he like to read? The Count's library In the library I found, to my great delight, a vast number of English books, whole shelves full of them, and bound volumes of magazines and newspapers. A table in the centre was littered with English magazines and newspapers, though none of them were of very recent date. The books were of the most varied kind, history, geography, politics, political economy, botany, geology, law, all relating to England and English life and customs and manners. There were even such books of reference as the London Directory, the "Red" and "Blue" books, Whitaker's Almanac, the Army and Navy Lists, and it somehow gladdened my heart to see it, the Law List. (25) Note: The red book is a guide to British government employees, the blue book is a guide to government policy. Modernity What trappings of modernity--e.g., modern technologies--are found in Dracula? How are these things presented in the novel? Are they positive or negative? blood transfusions Why Transylvania? There were a number of vampire tales floating around in the late 19th century. Why do you think Bram Stoker chose to make his vampire a Transylvanian aristocrat? What makes the Carpathian mountain range of Romania a good setting for Stoker’s story? Why would this location have been both exotic and disturbing to a Victorian audience? Carpathian Mountains Dracula as “oriental” Dracula seems to be obsessed with the honor of his race. What is his “race”? What role does blood play in his racial theories? See pages 34-35. Race in Dracula “We Szekelys [se kes] have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races, the Urgic tribe bore down from Iceland the fighting spirit which Thor and Wodin gave them, which their Beserkers displayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe . . .Here, too, when they came, they found the Huns, whose warlike fury had swept the earth like a living flame, till the dying peoples held that in their veins ran the blood of those old witches, who, expelled from Scythia had mated with the devils in the desert. Fools, fools! What devil or witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?” (page 34) Class in Dracula? Jonathan Harker and the labourers hired to transport Dracula’s belongings are troubled by the Count's willingness to cross class boundaries. How does Dracula violate class based rules for social behaviour? Why is this so disturbing to Victorians like Harker? From Harker's journal I heard the great door below shut, and knew that the Count had returned. He did not come at once into the library, so I went cautiously to my own room and found him making the bed. This was odd, but only confirmed what I had all along thought, that there are no servants in the house. When later I saw him through the chink of the hinges of the door laying the table in the dining room, I was assured of it. For if he does himself all these menial offices, surely it is proof that there is no one else in the castle, it must have been the Count himself who was the driver of the coach that brought me here. This is a terrible thought. . . (32). The “Count” prepares and clears away meals, drives his own coach and unloads his own luggage/cargo. This is no way for an aristocrat to behave! As the editors of the Norton edition point out, a man (especially a man of means) making the bed and doing the dishes would also have seemed unmasculine and disturbing to a Victorian audience. Strange behavior Teamwork and the “crew of light” The characters that band together and eventually drive Dracula out of England and defeat him are sometimes called the “crew of light”. Who are these characters, and what different talents/skills do they bring to the fight against the vampire? Holmwood/Lord Godalming has wealth and connections. He is also an aristocrat of good reputation. Dr. Seward has Renfield and a dictaphone for note taking. Jonathan Harker is a lawyer and is able to follow paper trails and make legal arrangements. Quincey Morris wealth, but also skill with horses, guns and knives. He is a cowboy, after all! Dr. Van Helsing knows about medical advances such as blood transfusion, but he also knows the magic and folk wisdom (garlic, the crucifix, the consecrated host) used to defeat the vampire. He mixes scientific knowledge with magic and religion. Mina Harker also contributes much to the fight against Dracula. Without her typing and note taking skills, they might never have tracked him down. Even though Mina is important to defeating the vampire, she is often treated as a less than equal partner in this project. How do 19th century “Victorian” attitudes about gender roles and femininity shape Mina's place in this novel? “Outside the Harkers' door we paused. Art and Quincey held back, and the latter said: -- 'Should we disturb her?' 'We must,' said Van Helsing grimly. 'If the door be locked, I shall break it in.' 'May it not frighten her terribly? It is unusual to break into a lady's room! 'You are always right; but this is life and death. All chambers are alike to the doctor; and even where they not they are all as one to me tonight” (246). Interesting passage What do you make of Dr. Van Helsing? What makes him an unusual character? Why does Dr. Seward call upon him to consult on the treatment of Lucy? Discussion Question Allegory question Do you think the death of Lucy and the survival of Mina be read as a national allegory (an extended symbolic narrative about the status of the nation)? If so, how? Allegory? Lucy and the Westenra family live a decadent, aristocratic lifestyle guided by their own whims and desires. Lucy is presented as frivolous and inconstant and becomes a fairly easy victim for Dracula. Lucy's mother is almost ridiculously frail and the family's many servants are unreliable and offer little protection. The more or less middle class Mina and Jonathan have had to struggle for their positions. They are hardier and more vigorous than the aristocratic characters. Mina's typing/short hand skills and Jonathan's ability to “make arrangements” help to defeat Dracula. The novel seems to suggest that these are the type of people best able to protect Britain from foreign monsters. Hand back exam #2 Read the final chapters of Dracula for next Tuesday.