Dracula By Bram Stoker Summary and Analysis Chapters 14-16

Summary

Mina decides to transcribe the journal which Jonathan kept at the Castle Dracula in Transylvania. On the 24th of September, she receives a letter from Dr. Van Helsing asking her if he may discuss Lucy's illness with her. Mina agrees to see him and, that day, Van Helsing arrives. This is the first time that Mina has met Van Helsing, and she gives him Jonathan's journal, which she has finished transcribing. Later that day, Mina receives a note from Van Helsing in which he expresses an intense desire to meet Jonathan. Mina suggests that Van Helsing come for breakfast on the next day.

For the first time in several months, Jonathan Harker begins another diary (or journal). In the new journal, he writes that he is sure that Count Dracula has reached London; in fact, it was the Count whom he saw in Hyde Park. That day Jonathan meets Van Helsing, and the two discuss Jonathan's trip to Transylvania. Just before Van Helsing leaves, he notices an article in the local paper, and he becomes visibly shaken.

Dr. Seward also begins keeping a diary again, even though earlier he had resolved never to do so again. In his diary, Seward notes that Renfield is his same old self — that is, Renfield is back to counting flies and spiders. Seward notes that Arthur seems to be doing well and that Quincey Morris is with him. That very day, in fact, Van Helsing shows him the article in the paper concerning the Bloofer Lady. Van Helsing points out that the injuries to the children are similar to Lucy's neck injury; therefore, the incidents have something in common. Seward is skeptical that there is any connection between the injuries, but Van Helsing berates him, asking him, "Do you not think that there are things that you cannot understand and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot?" Van Helsing continues to urge Seward to believe in things supernatural, to believe in things which, heretofore, he did not believe in. In desperation, Van Helsing finally tells Seward that the marks on the children "were made by Miss Lucy" (Chapter 15).

For awhile, Seward has to struggle to master his anger against Van Helsing, and he questions the sanity of the good doctor. Van Helsing points out that he knows how difficult it is to believe something horrible, particularly about one so beloved as Lucy, but he offers to prove his accusation that very night.

The two men have a mutual acquaintance (Dr. Vincent), who is in charge of one of the children who was injured by the Bloofer Lady. They plan to visit the child and then to visit Lucy's grave.

The child is awake when Van Helsing and Seward arrive, and Dr. Vincent removes the bandages from around the child's neck, exposing the puncture wounds, which are identical to those which were on Lucy's throat. Dr. Vincent attributes the marks to some animal, perhaps a bat.

When they leave the hospital, it is already dark, and they go immediately to the cemetery and find the Westenra tomb. They enter the tomb and light a candle. To Seward's dismay, Van Helsing begins to open the coffin. Seward expects a rush of gas from the week-old corpse, but when the coffin is finally opened, they discover it to be empty.

Seward, despite what he sees, is not convinced; he believes a body-snatcher may have stolen the corpse. The two leave the tomb, and Van Helsing and Seward take up vigils in the cemetery near the Westenra tomb. After some hours, Seward sees "something like a white streak" and, then, at the same time, he sees something move near Van Helsing. When he approaches Van Helsing, he discovers that Van Helsing is holding a small child in his arms. Still, this is not proof enough for Seward. They take the child where a policeman will be sure to find it, and they then head home, planning to meet at noontime the next day.

The next day (September 27th), they return to the cemetery, and as soon as possible, they reenter the Westenra tomb and reopen the coffin again. To Seward's shock and dismay, there lies the lovely Lucy, "more radiantly beautiful than ever." Still, Seward is not convinced; again, he wonders if someone might not have placed her there, but he cannot understand why she looks so beautiful after being dead an entire week. Van Helsing then tells Seward that a horrible thing must be done: They must cut off Lucy's head, fill her mouth with garlic, and drive a stake through her heart. Yet before doing it, Van Helsing has second thoughts. He feels that he cannot perform the act without Arthur's and Quincey's knowing about it, since they both loved her and gave their blood for her.

That night, Van Helsing informs Seward that he intends to watch the Westenra tomb and try to prevent Lucy's prowling about by blocking the tomb's door with garlic and a crucifix. He leaves Seward a set of instructions which he is to follow if something should happen to him.

The following night (September 28th) Arthur and Quincey come to Van Helsing's room. After the two are convinced of Van Helsing's good intentions and have his trust, Van Helsing informs them of the things which he intends to do. First, he will open the coffin (which Arthur strongly objects to — until Van Helsing explains that Lucy might be one of the "Un-Dead"), then he will perform the necessary "service." Arthur, however, will not consent to any mutilation of Lucy's body. Van Helsing pleads that he must do these things for Lucy's sake, so that her soul will rest peacefully. A few hours later, the four men go to the cemetery. In the tomb, the coffin lid is removed, and they all see that the coffin is empty. Van Helsing asks for Seward's confirmation that the body was in the coffin yesterday; Seward, of course, concurs with Van Helsing. Van Helsing then begins an intricate ceremony: From his bag he removes a "thin, wafer-like biscuit" and crumbles it to a fine powder; then, he mixes the crumbs with a doughy substance and begins to roll the material into the crevices between the door jam and the mausoleum door. Van Helsing informs them that he is sealing the tomb so that the "Un-Dead may not enter." He informs them that the wafer was "the host" which he brought with him from Amsterdam. The four men hide among some trees near the tomb and begin waiting. Soon, by the light of the moon, the men see a ghostly white figure moving through the cemetery. As it nears them, it becomes all too apparent that the creature is, indeed, Lucy Westenra. According to Seward's diary entry, her "sweetness was turned to adamantine . . . and the purity to voluptuous wantonness." The four men surround her before the tomb. Lucy's lips are covered with fresh blood, and her burial gown is stained with blood. Upon learning that she is surrounded, Lucy reacts like a cornered animal. The child which she holds is tossed to the ground, and she moves towards Arthur saying, "Come, my husband, come." Arthur's love turns to hate and disgust, yet he is also petrified with fear. Just as Lucy is about to attack him, Van Helsing repels her with a crucifix. Dashing towards the tomb, she is prevented from entry by the host, which Van Helsing placed earlier around the door. Asking Arthur if he is to proceed with his duty, Arthur responds: "Do as you will . . . There can be no horror ever any more." Advancing on the tomb, Van Helsing removes the seal around the door, and immediately, the ghostly body passes through the interstices and vanishes inside. After witnessing this, the men return home for a night's rest.

The next night (September 29th), the four men return to the Westenra tomb and perform the necessary ceremonies which destroy the vampire. Arthur himself must drive the stake through his fiancée's heart. Before parting ways that evening, they vow to join together and seek out "the author of all this our sorrow" (Count Dracula) and destroy him.

Analysis

In these chapters, even though we have heard earlier that Jonathan Harker's journal was to be sealed as a bond of faith between Jonathan and Mina, we now discover that Mina has not only read it but transcribed it because Dr. Van Helsing thinks that something in it might provide a clue about the mystery of Lucy's death. Thus, as the novel began with Jonathan Harker's journal and then progressed for many chapters without his narration, now Mina and Harker are again both drawn back into the main story.

This novel has set the course for all subsequent vampire lore — for example, the belief that a wooden stake must be driven through the vampire's heart and that the head must be removed and the mouth stuffed with garlic. All of the numerous, subsequent treatments of the vampire legend depend on these factors.

Furthermore, in Chapter 16, the term nosferatu is used. Stoker tells us that it is an Eastern European term and that it means the "Un-Dead"; this is the first time that all of the protagonists are privy to all of the information that Van Helsing has so far withheld. As a point of historical fact, Nosferatu is the title of two German films that deal with the Dracula legend (See the section on Filmography). Furthermore, the translation of "nosferatu" as the "Un-Dead" has now become standard usage.

It is interesting that the love which Arthur, Quincey, and Seward had for Lucy has been basely transfigured into hate at the sight of Lucy; moreover, it is somewhat surprising that these lusty men are disgusted at the abundant sensuality of Lucy, now that she is a vampire. When she approaches Arthur in her vampire form, it is with a sensual embrace. Instead of arousing passion, however, there is only a feeling of repulsion and disgust. It is clear that in her vampire form, Lucy's carnal aspect is highlighted and emphasized. The ceremony which kills her "Un-Dead" self frees her pure spirit from the sinful, carnal nature of her body and is a rite of purification, as symbolized by the sudden return of innocent beauty to her face at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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