Dracula By Bram Stoker Summary and Analysis Chapters 9-10

Summary

In a letter from Budapest, Mina tells Lucy that she has arrived safely and that she has found Jonathan Harker greatly changed. He is only a shadow of his former self, and he remembers very little of what has happened to him; he suffered a terrible shock, and his brain has a mental block against whatever caused his present condition.

Sister Agatha, who has attended him, has told Mina that he raved and ranted about dreadful and unspeakable things, so dreadful that she often had "to cross herself." Sister Agatha maintains that "his fear is of great and horrible things, which no mortal can think of." Mina notices a notebook and wonders if she could look through it for some clue as to what happened; Jonathan tells her that he has had brain fever, and he thinks that the cause of the brain fever might be recorded in the notebook. However, he does not ever want to read the contents of the book himself. Thus he gives the journal to Mina and says that if she wants to read it she may, but he never wants to read it lest it cause some horror in their married life.

Mina informs Lucy that she and Jonathan have decided to get married immediately, and, that very afternoon, the marriage ceremony was performed. As a wedding gift, Mina took the notebook, wrapped it, tied it, and sealed it in wax, using her wedding ring as the seal, saying that she would never open it unless it were for his — Jonathan's — sake. After reading her friend's letter, Lucy sends Mina a letter of congratulations, telling her that she herself is feeling quite healthy.

Dr. Seward records in his diary that Renfield has now grown very quiet and often murmurs to himself, "Now I can wait, now I can wait." He does not speak to anyone, even when he is offered a kitten or a full grown cat as a pet. He responds, "I don't take any stock in cats. I have more to think of now."

This has happened for three nights; now, Seward plans to arrange a way for Renfield to escape so that they can follow him. At an unexpected moment, however, Renfield escapes. The attendant follows him to Carfax, where he is again pressed against the old chapel door.

When Renfield sees Dr. Seward, he tries to attack him, but is restrained. Renfield grows strangely calm, and Dr. Seward becomes aware that Renfield is staring at something in the moonlit sky. Upon following his gaze, Seward can see nothing, however, but an exceptionally large bat.

Lucy Westenra, (on the 24th of August) records in her diary that she has been dreaming, as she did earlier at Whitby (she is now at Hillingham, another of the houses which her family owns). Also, she notes that her mother's health is declining. On the night of the 25th, she writes that she awoke around midnight to the sound of something scratching and flapping at the window. When she awoke in the morning, she was pale, and her throat pained her severely.

Arthur Holmwood writes to Dr. Seward on the 31st of August, asking him to visit Lucy and examine her. Then, the next day, he telegrams Dr. Seward to inform him that he has been called to his father's bedside, where he wants Dr. Seward to contact him.

On the 2nd of September, Dr. Seward writes to Arthur Holmwood that Lucy's health does not conform to any malady that he knows of, and that Lucy is somewhat reluctant to have him examine her completely. Dr. Seward is concerned about her "somewhat bloodless condition" because there are no signs of anemia. Lucy complains of difficulty in breathing, lethargic sleep, and dreams that frighten her. Dr. Seward is so concerned that he has sent for his old friend and master, the famous Professor Van Helsing of Amsterdam. The doctor is a profound philosopher, a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day.

In a letter of response, Dr. Van Helsing tells Dr. Seward that his affairs will allow him to come immediately, and that he is happy to do Dr. Seward a favor since Dr. Seward once saved his life. Consequently, Dr. Seward is able to write to Arthur Holmwood on the 3rd of September that Dr. Van Helsing has already seen Lucy and that he too is concerned about her condition, yet he has not said what is wrong with Lucy, except that there is no apparent functional cause of her illness. However, Dr. Van Helsing insists that a telegram be sent to him every day in Amsterdam letting him know about Lucy's condition.

In his diary, Dr. Seward notes that Renfield is often becoming violent at the stroke of noon and that he often howls like a wolf, disturbing the other patients. Later, the same day, he seems very contented, "catching flies and eating them." He has more sugar now and is reaping quite a harvest of flies, keeping them in a box as he did earlier. He asks for more sugar, which Dr. Seward promises to get for him. At midnight, Dr. Seward records another change in the patient. Visiting Renfield at sunset, he witnesses Renfield trying "to grab the sun" just as it sinks; then Renfield sinks to the floor. Rising, Renfield dusts the sugar and crumbs from his ledge, tosses all his flies out the window, and says, "I'm sick of all that rubbish." Dr. Seward wonders if the sun (or the moon) has any influence on Renfield's paroxysms of sudden passion."

Dr. Seward sends telegrams on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of September to Dr. Van Helsing, the final one being a desperate plea for Dr. Van Helsing to visit Lucy, for her condition has become much worse. Seward then sends a letter to Arthur, telling him that Lucy's condition is worse and that Van Helsing is coming to attend her. Seward cannot tell Lucy's mother about the problem because of the old woman's heart condition.

In his diary, Dr. Seward says that when Van Helsing arrived he was admonished to keep everything about this case a secret until they are certain about what is going on. Dr. Seward is anxious to know as much as possible about the case, but Van Helsing thinks that it is too premature to discuss it. When they reach Lucy's room, Dr. Seward is horrified by Lucy's ghastly pale, white face, the prominence of her bones, and her painful breathing. Observing Lucy's condition, Van Helsing frantically realizes that she must be given an immediate blood transfusion or she will die. Dr. Seward is prepared to give blood himself when Arthur suddenly arrives, volunteering that he will give "the last drop of blood in my body for her."

While Dr. Van Helsing is administering the transfer of blood from Arthur to Lucy, he gives Lucy a narcotic to allow her to sleep. After awhile, the transfusion restores color to Lucy's face, while Arthur, meanwhile, grows paler and paler. During the transfusion, the scarf around Lucy's throat falls away, and Dr. Seward notices the red marks on Lucy's throat. Later, Van Helsing asks Seward what he thinks about the marks. As they examine the wounds, they notice that they occur "just over the external jugular

vein . . . two punctures, not large, but not wholesome looking." There is no sign of disease, and Seward wonders if this is not how the blood is lost. Van Helsing has to leave, and so he orders Seward to stay all night and watch over Lucy. The next morning (September 8th), Seward thinks Lucy looks better. He recalls the conversation of the evening before, when Lucy told him she did not like to go to sleep because "all that weakness comes to me in sleep." However, when Seward promised to stay with her all night, she slept soundly.

Next day, Dr. Seward had to work all day at the asylum, and that night, the 9th of September, he was extremely exhausted by work and the lack of sleep. Therefore, when Lucy showed him a room next to hers, a room with a sofa, he instinctively stretched out and fell asleep. That night, Lucy recorded in her diary how safe she feels with Dr. Seward sleeping close by.

Dr. Seward records in his diary that early on the morning of September 10th, he was awakened by the gentle hand of Dr. Van Helsing, and together they went to visit Lucy. They found her — horribly white, with shrunken gums, lips pale and blue, and looking as though she were a corpse. Immediately, they realized that another transfusion would be essential. This time, Dr. Seward is the only person available for giving blood, and he does so, "for the woman he loved." Van Helsing reminds Seward that nothing is to be said of this. Again they examine the little punctures in her throat; the wounds now have a "ragged, exhausted appearance at their edges."

In the afternoon, Van Helsing is with Lucy when the professor opens a large bundle. He opens it, hands Lucy the contents, and instructs Lucy to wear the flowers around her neck: Lucy, recognizing that "the flowers" are common garlic, thinks that he is joking. Van Helsing tells her that he is not joking; he says that the garlic is a special garlic, coming all the way from Haarlem (a town in Holland). Dr. Seward skeptically observes all of this, wondering if Van Helsing is "working some spell to keep out an evil spirit." Van Helsing places other bits of garlic around the room, and when they leave he tells Dr. Seward that he will be able to sleep peacefully tonight since all is well.

Analysis

Jonathan Harker's journal ended on the 30th of June, and it is still with him in the hospital, sealed and to be opened and transcribed later by Mina. The entire novel, then, is, to a large degree, held together by Harker's journal, and his observations become instrumental in resolving the mystery of Dracula.

Throughout these two chapters, Lucy's health declines and improves, only to decline again. Constant emphasis is given to the two small wounds on her neck, and the reader must assume, although the author does not state it, that the expansion of the wounds and the decline of Lucy's health is a result of the vampire's repeated bloodsucking.

In addition to focusing on bloodsucking, these chapters include other examples of the Vampire-Gothic tradition. There is Renfield, who howls at noon (Dracula's powers are weakest then), yet Renfield is calm at sunset. There is also the presence of bats, as well as other mysterious "noises." Mainly, however, these chapters are concerned with the transfusion of blood into Lucy. Of course, Stoker is playing on the notion of a lover's life's blood. Recall that Arthur declares, "My life is hers, and I would give the last drop of blood in my body for her." The same thing, in a perverted sense, can be said for Lucy's blood, which is given to her "demon lover," the vampire. The same thing is happening when Dr. Seward gives his blood to his beloved Lucy, and finally, in future chapters, Van Helsing, who has learned to love Lucy as a daughter, will gladly give his blood to save her. Each time, Van Helsing points out that the blood is from a strong, powerful, virile young man, yet he is continually vexed as to how the lady's strength disappears. Of note here is the fact that it was dangerous to give such transfusions, because if the blood wasn't of a matching type, it could have possibly killed her. In emergencies, however, any blood is usually given to a patient if a transfusion will, hopefully, save a life.

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