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Dracula Chapters 1-4
Transcript of Dracula Chapters 1-4
Follows Jonathan Harker's journey from Munich to the castle.
Decline in civilisation
- 'should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late'
Begins the emphasis on isolation
- 'There were many things new to me', as readers,
we have previously grown attached to Harker, so the 'unknown' creates a lack of security for us.
As he is British, we connect with him through his discoveries that are unfamiliar to us, and as we are a British audience, we trust his judgement. This is vital for the rest of the novel as the threat of vampirism could spread through Britain
His relationship with Mina makes him human, love is an emotion that humans experience which acts as a reassurance for our trust in Jonathan. It is also stereotypical of classic gothic literature.
Introduction of another character is another person that can be threatened which makes us feel sympathy for Harker.
We further trust him due to his efficency and good decision making,'I fear to go very far from the station', this builds him as a very rational character. As a result Stoker portrays him as the persued protagonist so we fear for his sanity.
Sense of security
The first person narrative allows us to feel safe knowing he is alive when he writes but once the perspective changes, we fear for his safety.
Imagery and Symbolism
Classic gothic imagery
- The significance of the repeated use of dogs
- 'A dog howling all night under my window', the initial references are quite innocent, however the fact that it continues for the duration of the evening makes it perculiar and raises curiosity.
- 'you must not walk here, the dogs are too fierce', this is a dangerous change from the singular dog under the window.
- 'green sloping land full of forests and woods' and 'an endless perspective of jagged rock',
a sense of foreboding is created.
- 'the impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East',
recognition that the East would be less civilised.
Contrast in setting
Beginning of entrapment
- 'Then the mountain seemed to come nearer to us on each side',
builds upon sense of foreboding
"she put the rosary around my neck, and said 'For your mother's sake'"
-Reference to mother makes Jonathan childlike, we therefore question his judgement
"both he and his wife crossed themselves"; "all made the sign of the cross"
-A symbol of warding off evil
"all the evil things in the world will have full sway"
Jonathan is a Protestant - a form of Christianity that broke away from Catholicism, rejecting some of its practices. They saw the extreme importance placed on ritual and holy objects to be idolatrous and therefore sinful.
"I must say they were not cheering to me, for amongst them were
both of which mean the same thing, one being Slovak and the other Servian for something that is either werewolf or vampire. (Mem., I must ask the Count about these superstitions.)"
when a person sleeps, reason sleeps
"all sorts of queer dreams"
"I did not sleep well"
slight unreliability because that will effect his writing
eponymous character not introduced
reactions from other characters builds a sense of foreboding
"looked ate each other in a frightened sort of way"
Jonathan Harker arrives at Dracula's castle. The Count appears and welcomes him. While Harker is staying at the castle the Count behaves strangely and there are peculiar things about him, increasing Harker’s sense of uneasiness. While Harker is at his shaving mirror, he notices that the count has no reflection. The count lunges towards Harker when he cuts himself but is prevented from harming him because of the crucifix. The Count leaves and locks Harker's door. Harker realises he is a prisoner in the Count’s castle.
door, old and studded with
nails, and set in a projecting doorway of
Semantic field of darkness:
"several dark ways"
"dawn struggling in through the windows"
"among the Carpathians"
"grating noise of long disuse"
"The strength of the handshake was so much akin to that which i had noticed in the driver... for a moment I doubted if it were not the same person"
"he...took my luggage"
"his prodigious strength"
As the driver
"a steel vice"
object - dehumanising, no feeling
"like a statue"
"Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere."
ominous, sense of foreboding, dark charatcter
not human, a facade, association with grotesque
use of similie - Harker can't place who/what Dracula is, only comparable to objects, not human
"These friends...have been good friends to me and for some years past"
books for friends = unnatural
End of the chapter - verified
"The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!"
"I love the shade and the shadow"
"made his smile look malignant and saturnine"
a desire to harm others
pale, white, leaden
"But there was no reflection of him in the mirror!
association with hell, because Harker cut himself, in danger, sense of foreboding/fear
which "made an instant change in him"
From this point on Dracula becomes distant, now Harker is aware of his supernaturality.
Lack of security
He becomes more unpredictable
only security we have is while Harker is still alive to write, with the change in Dracula a sense of foreboding is built
Emphasis of Harker's arrival to the castle
"Enter freely and of your own will!"
-sense of foreboding
-provokes the reader to question, why would Harker not enter, or leave, of his own will?
Repetition of welcome:
"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own will!"
"Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely. And leave something of the happiness you bring!"
"I bid you welcome, Mr Harker, to my house."
-Will he leave unhappy?
-suggestion the castle is an unhappy place, sense of foreboding
The need to mention safety makes us question Harker's
Start of Harker losing rationality
-repeated mention of sleep
"I must have been asleep"
"I began to rub my eyes and pinch myself to see if I were awake. It all seemed like a horrible nightmare to me"
sense of foreboding to his arrival and stay at the castle
"Having then reached my normal state"
-Harker recognises that he is becoming irrational, questioning his reliability
"I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things which I dare not confess to my own soul. God keep me, if only for the sake of those dear to me!"
-reminded of his human qualities, selflessness
-restored faith in religion
– Contrasting setting again
‘I looked out over the beautiful expanse, bathed in soft yellow moonlight till it was almost as light as day.’
The outside contrasts from ‘the prison’ which is the castle, it emphasises the harsh reality of being in the castle.
– Despite the obscure nature of the experiences that are happening to Jonathan, Stoker uses previous characterisation of Harker to make us believe the narrative,
‘I must not confuse them with experiences which will have to rest on my own observation or my memory of them’
, as we have grown to trust Harker, we believe what he is saying.
- Stoker presents the women as very ethereal with one of the women being
‘as fair as can be, with great, wavy masses of golden hair and eyes like pales sapphires’
, their dream like qualities draw the reader in, just like they draw Jonathan in.
‘I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips’
– We begin to further lose our sense of security for Jonathan when we know he is officially a prisoner.
- In the extract named ‘midnight’, there is a sense of mystery around the day that he wrote it, the vagueness makes us fear for Jonathan.
– There is a lot of animal imagery throughout this chapter, ‘for I behaved much as a rat does in a trap’, the dehumanisation of Harker makes him seem weak and helpless. Another example, ‘Once more I have seen the Count go out in his lizard fashion’, Stoker dehumanises the Count to increase the fear we feel towards him and also
- Our fear for the Count grows as Stoker grows when we see how he acts with the women, ‘With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him’.
- Sleep and dream imagery ‘and there are bad dreams for those who sleep unwisely. Be warned!’ going to sleep is like going into the unknown which mirrors Jonathan’s experience.
- ‘And noticing his quiet smile, with the sharp, canine teeth lying over the red under lip’, significance of the colour imagery. ‘Red’ has connotations with danger and also blood, which builds a further sense of foreboding.
The sense of foreboding and suspense that was built up in Chapter 2 finally ‘makes sense’; we know have a reason to be scared for Jonathan, Mina and even London.
At first Dracula hid the supernatural actions from Jonathan but know he knows he is a prisoner he doesn’t have to. Stoker contrasts Harker’s and Dracula’s personalities to maximise the fear we receive from Dracula, ‘What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in the semblance of man?’, as we have been reassured that Jonathan is sane, it highlights the obscurities even more.
The story becomes more tense and because of the diary format, our anticipation as a reader is unbearable as we wait to see how our protagonist survives the next events.
Stoker builds on this because of the time lapse between the entries.
Due to Dracula’s power over the dark creatures around the area, he is able to use the wolves as a weapon psychologically to keep Harker at bay, and in the schedule he has planned out through the letters.
The last of Harker’s opening journal entries
The use of epistolary within the book helps us understand that Harker is alive at the event being narrated. However, because we know when he has written it, this also builds tension for the reader who is unsure to weather he is alive after the next group of gothic events.
The wolves/ dogs: almost controlling Jonathan.
The night sky - calming for Jonathan
Harker wonders what kind of creature the Count is and fears that there will be no escape.
Uncertainty of events
"[Harker]could not arrive at any unquestionable result"
Trying to cling to rationality:
"I must watch for proofs"
Jonathan's immersion in the world of Dracula's castle includes his adaptation to a nocturnal schedule.
-sleep during the days and wake for the nights
Part of this is adjusting to new time zones and schedules, but not only between England and Romania, but also between the living and the dead.
For escape to be possible, Jonathan has to revert to the sleeping schedule of the living only daylight can provide him safe cover for escape, allowing him to return to the world of the living.
The first few chapters give us a foundation for a sense of his character: his aristocratic bearing, his cunning, his ruthlessness. From this point forward, he dominates the novel as a more mysterious force, absent but still at the center of the action.
Dracula is all the more frightening because we cannot know when and where he will strike.
Dracula sleeps in the vicinity of a ruined chapel. In this and in many other ways, the Count represents a perversion of Christian belief. His diet of blood gruesomely parallels the Christian Eucharist, in which believers drink and eat the blood and body of Jesus Christ. In many ways, the vampire perversely parallels Christ himself: like Christ, he has died and been reborn, but his resurrection is a blasphemy and a reverse-miracle of evil. While Christ sheds his blood so that others might have eternal life, Dracula drinks the blood of others so that he himself might live eternally. His immortality is a mockery of lifehe is not truly immortal but "undead," a term that Bram Stoker coined.
Dracula's strengths and weaknesses.
He must sleep on a pile of very particular soil hence the many boxes full of Transylvanian earth.
During the sleeping stage, he cannot move, but he is not helpless: Jonathan's attempt to kill him is thwarted by a glance, and when Jonathan tries to escape a gust of wind slams the door shut before him.
With feeding, the Count grows younger and stronger; with the population of London to prey on, he will grow stronger still.
Dracula's inability to comprehend shorthand foreshadows part of the way that he will be defeated: though clever and powerful, the modern code is unbreakable for him. One of his greatest limitations is that in many ways he is a creature of the past, and the heroes of the story will be able to mobilize modern gadgetry and science alongside superstition and Christian icons against him. Jonathan's diary, it is worth noting, is kept in shorthand.
Although Jonathan's unimaginative nature made him unable to understand the true nature of Dracula, rationality, science, and modern sensibilities are valuable tools in the battle against the vampire.
The scene in which the peasant woman is devoured by Dracula's wolves plays out a familiar theme of Gothic fiction: that of the wicked aristocracy preying on the common people.