Dracula By Bram Stoker Summary and Analysis Chapters 26-27

Summary

On the 29th day of October, Dr. Seward records that Mina, under hypnosis, can hear and distinguish very little, and that the things which she does hear — such as the lowing of cattle — indicate that Dracula's coffin is now being moved up-river. Jonathan Harker records on October 30th that the captain of the ship which brought Dracula told of the unusual journey which they made from London to Galatz — that is, many of the Roumanians on board ship wanted him to throw the box overboard, but the captain felt obligated to deliver the box to the person to whom it was assigned. We find out, then, that one Immanuel Hildesheim received the box, and that the box was given to a Slovak, Petrof Skinsky. Skinsky was found dead in a churchyard, his throat apparently torn open by some wild animal. On that same day, Mina, having read all of the journal entries, and after consulting maps for waterways and roads, concludes that the Count would have had to take the river to Sereth, which is then joined to the Bristriza, which leads then to the Borgo Pass, where Jonathan Harker stopped at the beginning of the novel. They choose to separate and head for the pass: Van Helsing and Mina by train; Lord Godalming and Jonathan Harker by a steam launch (steamboat); Quincey Morris and Seward by horseback.

Harker and Godalming, in questioning various captains of other boats along the river, hear of a large launch with a double crew traveling ahead of them. They keep up the pursuit during the first three days of November. Meanwhile, Mina and Van Helsing arrive at Veresti on the 31st of October, where Van Helsing hires a horse and carriage for the last seventy miles of the journey.

Chapter 27 begins with a continuation of Mina Harker's journal. She records that she and Van Helsing traveled all day by carriage on the first of November. She remarks that she thinks the countryside is beautiful, yet the people are "very, very superstitious." In one house where the two of them stop, a woman noticed the red mark on Mina's forehead and crossed herself and pointed two fingers at Mina "to keep off the evil eye." That evening, Van Helsing hypnotizes Mina, and they learn that Dracula is still on board ship. On the 2nd of November, they again travel all day towards the Borgo Pass, hoping to arrive on the morning of the 3rd of November. They arrive at the Borgo Pass, and Van Helsing again hypnotizes Mina.

They discover that the Count is still on board ship; after Mina awakens from the trance, she is full of energy and zeal, and she miraculously knows the way towards the Count's castle; she also "knows" the location of an unused side road, a road which is unmarked. They choose to take that path. That day Mina sleeps considerably and seems incredibly weak and lethargic. When Van Helsing attempts to hypnotize her again, he discovers that he can no longer do it. He has lost his power to hypnotize.

They spend the night in a wild forest east of the Borgo Pass, and Van Helsing builds a fire. Then, using a holy wafer, he places Mina in a protective circle. Later that night, the three female vampires which accosted Jonathan materialize near their campfire and tempt Van Helsing with their teeming sexuality. They also tempt Mina to come with them. The horses evidently die of terror, and Van Helsing's only weapon against the three female vampires is the fire and the holy wafer. At dawn, the sunlight drives away the three female vampires.

On the afternoon of the 5th of November, Van Helsing and Mina arrive by foot at Count Dracula's castle. Using a heavy blacksmith's hammer, Van Helsing knocks the castle door off its hinges and enters Dracula's demesnes. Recalling the description in Jonathan's journal, Van Helsing finds his way to the old chapel where Dracula lies during his non-active times. In his search of the old chapel, Van Helsing discovers the three graves of the three female vampires. He performs the purification ritual and puts an end to the female vampires. The female vampires' voluptuous beauty dissolves into dust upon the driving of a stake through their hearts. Van Helsing then finds a large tomb "more lordly than all the rest," upon which is one word: DRACULA. Van Helsing crushes a holy wafer and lays it within the tomb "and so vanished him from it, Un-Dead, forever." Before he leaves the castle, Van Helsing places holy material around the entrance so that the Count can never enter the castle again.

The novel ends with a passage from Mina Harker's journal, an entry that begins on the late afternoon of the 6th of November, a date some six months since the novel began. Mina and Van Helsing are on foot, traveling east in the midst of a heavy snowfall. The howling of wolves seems perilously close. On a high mountain road, utilizing his field glasses, Van Helsing notices in the distance a group of men; they seem to be gypsies around a cart. Van Helsing knows instinctively that the cart is carrying a box of un-holy dirt containing the Count and that they must reach the box before sunset, which is quickly approaching. The two men who are riding toward the North, Van Helsing assumes, must be Quincey Morris and Dr. Seward. This would mean that from the other direction, Jonathan and Lord Godalining must not be far away. Simultaneously, the six people converge on the wagon and the gypsies. The sun continues to set.

Jonathan and Lord Godalming stop the gypsies by using their Winchesters, just as Morris and Seward arrive, wielding their guns. With an almost superhuman effort, Jonathan eludes the defenders, leaps upon the cart, and throws the box to the ground. Quincey, wielding his knife, slashes his way through the gypsies and gains access to the box, but not before he is stabbed by one of the gypsies. Regardless of the wounds, Quincey, along with Jonathan, rips the lid from the box. Inside is the dreaded Count Dracula, covered with the un-holy dirt which has been jostled all over him. As the six of them stare into the coffin, Dracula's eyes look toward the setting sun, "and the look of hate in them turned to triumph." Then, at the very last moment of sunlight, Jonathan, wielding a great knife, chops off Count Dracula's head, while Quincey Morris's bowie knife plunges into the Count's heart, "and almost in the drawing of a breath," writes Mina, "the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from sight." Mina notices that even at the moment of death, within such a horrid face and image, she sees a look of peace. The gypsies, seeing the body disintegrate, withdraw in abject fright. Sadly, Quincey Morris has been fatally wounded; before he dies, however, he is able to note that the curse on Mina's forehead is gone. Quincey dies "a gallant gentleman."

In a Note attached to the end of the novel (reportedly from Jonathan Harker), we learn that it is seven years later; he and Mina have a son whom they named Quincey. Lord Godalming and Dr. Seward are both happily married. In a final note of irony, Jonathan reports that of all the material of which "the record" is made, "there is hardly one authentic document"; the only remaining notes are those which have been transcribed on a typewriter: "Therefore, we could hardly ask anyone . . . to accept these as proofs of so wild a story."

Analysis

The closing chapters of the novel suggest a type of chase novel, with the "good guys" chasing the evil person, who seems to be able to constantly elude them. Even at the end of the novel, it seems as though the Count will escape into the sinking sunset before the "rituals" can be performed upon him. Actually, for most readers, the last half of the novel becomes somewhat long and drawn out, but this novel was written at the end of the Victorian period when the reading public expected novels to last a long time. The killing of Dracula, of course, represents the social victory of middle-class morality over the corrupt morality of the aristocracy. The latent virtue of the Count is revealed in Mina's account, however, for as the Count is freed from the influence of the vampire form, his face contains a look of peace.

That the events really happened is now questioned by the final Note, which announces that all of the original documents have been lost and what we have read has been no more than the typewritten,

transcribed notes of the originals, notes which cannot be used as absolute proof of the horrible things which have transpired.

In spite of the flaws of this novel, it has been an unlimited source of stories, plays, novels, and movies, as well as a source for assorted psychological theories. This novel is an example of a type of literature in which the germ, or kernel, idea far transcends the execution.

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