Dracula By Bram Stoker Summary and Analysis Chapters 11-13

Summary

On the 12th of September, Lucy is perplexed by the presence of the garlic flowers, but she has such trust in Van Helsing that she is not frightened to fall asleep that night.

In Dr. Seward's diary, we learn that he picked up Van Helsing and went to see Lucy the next day. They met Mrs. Westenra in the hall and discovered that she had checked on Lucy, found the room very "stuffy," and, thus, she removed those "horrible, strong smelling flowers" from around Lucy's neck and from here and there in the room, and then opened the windows in order for the room to air out. Van Helsing was very restrained in the presence of Mrs. Westenra, but as soon as she had left, Dr. Seward saw Van Helsing break down and begin to "sob with loud, dry sobs, that seemed to come from the very wracking of his heart." He feels that they are "sore beset" by some pagan fate. He recovers, and then he rushes to Lucy's room. Lucy is on the verge of death, and Seward knows that she must have another transfusion immediately, or she will die. This time, Van Helsing must be the donor since Seward has given blood to her so recently. Later, Van Helsing gently warns Mrs. Westenra that she must never remove anything from Lucy's room because the "flowers" and other objects have medicinal value.

Four days later, Lucy records that she is feeling much better. Even the bats flapping at her window, the harsh voices, and the distant sounds do not bother her any more.

At this point, the story is interrupted with a newspaper article about an "escaped wolf." The article tells about a curious incident a few nights earlier. It seems that when the moon was shining one night, all of the wolves of the zoo began to howl and a "big grey dog was seen coming close to the cages where the wolves were." When the zoo keeper checked the cells at midnight, he found one of the wolves missing. Suddenly the big wolf, Bersicker, returned home, docile and peaceful, except that his head was peppered with broken glass.

Dr. Seward's diary records how, on the 17th of September, he was attacked by Renfield in his office. Renfield grabbed a knife, cut Seward's wrist rather severely, and a puddle of blood formed on the floor; Renfield then began "licking it up like a dog," murmuring over and over to himself, "The blood is life."

Van Helsing telegraphs Seward, telling him to meet him at Lucy's house that night. The telegram, however, doesn't arrive until almost morning, and Seward leaves immediately for Lucy's — on the 18th of September. On the 17th of September, at nighttime, Lucy records everything she can remember in a memorandum: she was awakened by a flapping at the window and was frightened because no one was in the house; she tried to stay awake and heard something like the howl of a dog, but it was more fierce and frightening. She looked out the window, but could see only a big bat flapping its wings. Disturbed by the noise, her mother came into the room and got into bed with her. The flapping continued, and Lucy tried to calm her mother. Suddenly there was a low howl, broken glass was flying into the room, and in the window was seen "the head of a great, gaunt, grey wolf." Lucy's mother, frightened, clutched at the wreath of garlic and tore it from Lucy's neck in fright. When the wolf drew its head back, there seemed to be a "whole myriad of little specks . . . wheeling and circling around like a pillar of dust." Lucy found her mother lying lifeless, and then Lucy lost consciousness. Upon regaining consciousness a short time later, the four household maids came in and were so frightened at the sight of Mrs. Westenra's body that Lucy instructed them to go into the dining room to fetch a glass of wine. Later, when Lucy checked on them, she found them all unconscious, and upon examining the decanter, she discovered that it reeked of laudanum (an opium and alcohol mixture used as a painkiller). Lucy realizes that she is alone in the house, and she wonders where she can hide her memorandum so that someone can find it next day.

In his diary (September 18th), Dr. Seward records that he arrives at Lucy's house but isn't admitted inside. A moment later, Van Helsing arrives, and he learns that Seward did not get the telegram instructing him to stay the night. They go to the rear of the house, break in and discover the four servant women's bodies. Running to Lucy's room, they see a horror indescribable to them. Lucy's mother is dead, partly covered with a white sheet. Lucy herself is unconscious, her throat bare, the two white wounds horribly mangled, and Lucy lifeless as a corpse. Before a transfusion can be considered, however, they must warm Lucy.

They revive the maids and order them to heat water, towels, and sheets. As they are wondering how to proceed next, since neither of them can give blood at the moment, and the maids are too superstitious to be relied upon, Quincey Morris arrives. He reminds them that he also loved Lucy, and he will give his blood to save her. While the transfusion is taking place, Van Helsing hands Seward a piece of paper that dropped from Lucy's nightgown as they carried her to the bath. Seward reads it and is vexed by its contents. He asks Van Helsing about it. The grim reality confronting them immediately, however, is to get a certificate of death filled out for Mrs. Westenra.

Later, Quincey questions Dr. Seward about Lucy's illness; he wonders where all of the blood which she received from Arthur, Seward, and Van Helsing has gone. He is reminded of a time "on the Pampas . . . [when] one of those big bats that they call vampires" attacked one of his prize mares, and the mare had to be shot.

When Lucy awakens late in the afternoon, she feels her breast for the note (which Dr. Van Helsing returned); she finds it and tears it to pieces. That night, Lucy sleeps peacefully, but her mouth "show[s] pale gums drawn back from the teeth," which look sharper and longer than usual.

That night (September 19th) Arthur Holmwood arrives to stay with Lucy. Dr. Seward's entry for September 20th notes that he is despondent and depressed. Arthur's father's death, along with the death of Mrs. Westenra, has disheartened him, and, it seems, Lucy's condition is worsening. Arthur, Dr. Seward, and Van Helsing take turns looking over her. Van Helsing has placed garlic all around the room, as well as around Lucy's neck, and he has covered the wounds on her neck with a silk handkerchief. Lucy's canine teeth appear longer and sharper than the rest. Around midnight, Seward hears a noise outside Lucy's window, and he sees a great bat flying around. When he checks on Lucy, he discovers that she has removed the garlic from around her neck. Seward also notices that she seems to be fluctuating between two states — when she is conscious, she clutches the flowers close to her neck, but when she is unconscious, she pushes the garlic from her, as though it were abhorrent. At 6 o'clock on the morning of the 20th, when Van Helsing examines Lucy, he is shocked and calls for light. The wounds on Lucy's throat have disappeared. He announces that she will soon be dead. Arthur is awakened so that he can be with her at the end, and when he comes to her, she revives. As Arthur stoops to kiss her, Van Helsing notes that Lucy's teeth seem as though they are about to fasten onto Arthur's throat. He stops Arthur and tells him to simply hold Lucy's hand, for it will comfort her more. Seward again notices that Lucy's teeth look longer and sharper than before, and suddenly Lucy opens her eyes and says to Arthur "in a soft voluptuous voice" that Seward has never heard before "Arthur, Oh my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me." As Arthur bends to kiss her, Van Helsing, in a fury of strength, flings Arthur across the room, saying, "Not for your living soul, and hers!" He then instructs Arthur to come and kiss her on the forehead, only once. Suddenly, Lucy is dead! And in death, Lucy seems to regain some of the beauty that she had in life. Seward remarks, "It is the end!" but Van Helsing replies, "Not so. It is only the beginning. We can do nothing as yet. Wait and see."

Chapter 13 begins with a continuation of Dr. Seward's diary, where we read that arrangements are made for Lucy and her mother to be buried at the same time. Meanwhile, Arthur must return to bury his father. Van Helsing, who is also a lawyer, looks through Lucy's papers and retrieves all those documents which he feels might give him a clue about her death.

That night, Seward is confused by Van Helsing's actions. Van Helsing once again takes a handful of wild garlic and places the garlic all around the room and around Lucy's coffin, and then he takes a small gold crucifix and places it over Lucy's mouth. Then he makes an astonishing request to Seward. Tomorrow, he wants Seward to help him cut off Lucy's head, take out her heart, and, as we later learn, stuff her mouth with garlic. They will have to do it after the coffin has been sealed so that Arthur and others will not see the mutilated body. Seward is confused about the need for mutilating the poor girl's body, but Van Helsing tells him to be patient about an explanation; then he reminds him of that moment when Lucy was dying, when she reached up to kiss Arthur. At that moment Lucy gained consciousness enough to thank the good doctor for his actions. He reminds Seward that "there are strange and terrible days before us."

After a good sleep, Van Helsing awakens Seward with perplexing news — someone has stolen the crucifix from Lucy's mouth during the night. Now they must wait to see what happens.

When Arthur returns, he tries to explain his total despair to Seward — he has lost his fiancée, his father, and, now, his fiancée's mother, all in the matter of just a few days. He looks at Lucy's corpse and doubts that she is really dead. That night, Van Helsing asks Arthur if he can have Lucy's personal papers, assuring him that he will examine them only to determine the cause of Lucy's death. Arthur agrees with Van Helsing's request.

Mina Harker records in her journal (September 22nd) that she and Jonathan are on the train to Exeter. They arrive soon in London and then take a bus to Hyde Park. While strolling about, Mina is alarmed when Jonathan suddenly has another "nervous fit." She follows Jonathan's gaze to discover Jonathan is staring in terror at a "tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard." Jonathan exclaims "It is the man himself!" In a few minutes, the man hails a carriage and leaves. Jonathan is convinced that it is Count Dracula. That night, Mina receives a telegram from Van Helsing, who informs her that Mrs. Westenra and Lucy have died.

The chapter concludes with an excerpt from the Westminster Gazette (September 25th), three days after the funeral. According to the article, the area surrounding Hampstead Hill, the area where Lucy was buried, has been terrorized by a mysterious woman whom the local children refer to as "the Bloofer Lady."

Analysis

These chapters include some of the more traditional treatments for handling or warding off the presence of vampires. Van Helsing, who is the only one knowledgeable about demonology and in particular about vampire lore, sends for garlic and hangs Lucy's entire room, especially the windows, with it; then he makes a wreath of garlic to drape around Lucy's neck, and he also places a crucifix around her neck. The garlic and the crucifix are two traditional agents that have become associated with the devices that can be used to ward off vampires.

In these chapters, it is clear that evil spirits can accomplish their aims in devious sorts of ways, as attested to by sixteenth-century legends concerning Faust. For example, even though Lucy is locked in her room and protected from the vampire by the profusion of garlic, the evil spirit of the Un-Dead is able to summon a wolf from his cage in a zoo, have him smash in a window, and thereby enable the vampire to enter the room. The smashing of the window and the wolf's horrible and terrifying attempt to enter the room cause Lucy's mother to panic and to rip the garlic away from Lucy's throat, leaving Lucy vulnerable to attack. The evil presence of the vampire manages to "materialize" inside Lucy's room, where it drugs the four household maids, thus preventing their aiding Lucy.

It is interesting to note that at this point, while we have been using the term "vampire" off-handedly, Quincey Morris's discussion of the vampire bat is the first time that the term "vampire" has actually been used in the novel. Stoker is careful to point out, or to detail, the lengthening of Lucy's canine teeth so that they resemble the archetypical vampire teeth, the teeth that the vampire uses to suck blood from its victim.

As a sidenote, it is interesting to consider that within a week we have witnessed the deaths of four people intimately associated with either Lucy or Mina: Lucy's mother, Mr. Hawkins (Jonathan's employer), and Arthur's father (Lord Godalming) have died (thus causing Arthur Holmwood to inherit the title), and, of course, Lucy herself has died.

Early in Chapter 11, when Van Helsing finds out that Lucy's mother took the garlic out of Lucy's room, Van Helsing, for the first time in his life, breaks down, loses his composure, and sobs bitterly. This is a dramatic device, used to indicate the magnitude of the evil which he is facing.

In this novel and other similar stories, Van Helsing represents those powers for good combating the powers of evil which are so dimly known and which so few people believe; thus, the deaths and Van Helsing's dejected state illustrate how completely the evil of Dracula has affected society.

As we will discover, Lucy is, in fact, the Bloofer Lady. Recall that she died on September 20th, and the first appearance of the Bloofer Lady occurred after Lucy's burial on the 22nd; thus, Lucy has risen from the dead after three days — in a dreadful perversion of the Christian Resurrection.

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