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Dracula, By Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker is considered to be the world's most famous horror novelist. Though he has produced a number of short stories, essays and novels, his classic novel Dracula, published in 1897 remains to be his most praised and admired work. Dracula is a story, which focuses on a Transylvanian vampire that comes to London. One of the most pressing themes in the novel, Dracula focuses on the Fulmination of Woman Sexual Expression (Themes, (http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/dracula/themes.html).The theme reinstates how women behavior during that era was delineated by the austere European expectations. Stoker characterizes the status of women and how they were expected to behave by the society through his heroines Mina and Lucy and how their behavior changes to opposite that is unacceptable by the society.

In this fiction Bram Stoker reflects the bigotry and skepticism with which the Victorian Britain espied the Eastern Europeans. During his lifetime Stoker became an ardent theatre lover and an admiring friend of Henry Irving. Many novelists have debated over the character of Count Dracula, which according to them was greatly perceived from the personality of Henry Irvine. Many have argued that the novel was a sort of unconscious revenge against a man Stoker esteemed so much. Dracula is one of those novels, which does not seem to age even to this day. Stoker was successful in coining the term undead for his famous vampire character, which has strongly carved the pantomime of the legendary monster.

The novel begins by introducing to the audience the character of a young Englishman Jonathan Harker, who is a discerning, industrious and an aspiring lawyer. He goes on a business trip to Transylvania in order to assist a Transylvanian aristocrat, Count Dracula in purchasing an English property. In the novel, his journey into Europe's far away lands is described as timorous. While working for Dracula and showing him the contrivance of London's property his firm has procured for him, he realizes that he is Dracula's prisoner in his castle. He writes in his journal,

When I found that I was a prisoner a sort of wild feeling came over me. I rushed up and down the stairs, trying every door and peering out of every window I could find, but after a little the conviction of my helplessness overpowered all other feelings.

When, however, the conviction had come to me that I was helpless I sat down quietly, as quietly as I have ever done anything in my life, and began to think over what was best to be done. I am thinking still, and as yet have come to no definite conclusion. Of one thing only am I certain. That it is no use making my ideas known to the Count. He knows well that I am imprisoned, and as he has done it himself, and has doubtless his own motives for it, he would only deceive me if I trusted him fully with the facts

Dracula, Chapter 3. Pg. 1).

Gradually he starts to see Dracula as a diabolical figure that plans to prey and feed on London's populace. Jonathan first realizes the truth about Dracula when he drives away the three ghostly women who attack him. While Dracula leaves for London, Jonathan successfully makes a desperate escape from the castle, thus leaving the audience in suspense about his nemesis.

In the mean time, Mina, Jonathan's fiance goes to visit her best friend Lucy Westenra who has recently been proposed by three suitors but chooses Arthur Holmwood to be her beau. Both Mina and Lucy spend their vacation at Whitby town, where Mina starts to recognize Lucy's strange behavior such as sleepwalking. A Russian vessel, which is carrying fifty boxes of earth, is shipwrecked at Whitby. Despite the shipwreck, all of the boxes are delivered to their desired destination. Mina notices her best friend to be growing weaker and paler day by day. During a strange course Mina finds Lucy unconscious in a cemetery. There she sees a strange figure with glowing eyes bent over her but by the time she approaches it has disappeared. With these unusual events Lucy's health seems to be deteriorating with the passage of time.

In this chapter of the novel Lucy's behavior denotes that Dracula has already attacked her. In her sleepwalking Lucy know where she seems to be going but stops without any resistance when stopped, as if she is trying to hide her destination from everyone. In the later chapter Lucy's seduction by Dracula correlate sexual seduction and here is where the audience encounters the theme of the novel. The virgin is ruined by the aristocratic vampire, in keeping with a common Gothic theme of the aristocracy preying on women of non-aristocratic blood. His penetration of her parallels the penetration of sex, and Lucy is unable or unwilling to save herself from him (Notes On Dracula, (http://www.classicnote.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/dracula/summ2.html).When Lucy is rescued from the cemetery she defines her experience to be ecstatic. She says, didn't quite dream, but it all seemed to be real. I only wanted to be here in this spot. I don't know why, for I was afraid of something, I don't know what. I remember, though suppose I was asleep, passing through the streets and over the bridge. A fish leaped as I went by, and I leaned over to look at it, and I heard a lot of dogs howling. The whole town seemed as if it must be full of dogs all howling at once, as I went up the steps. Then I had a vague memory of something long and dark with red eyes, just as we saw in the sunset, and something very sweet and very bitter all around me at once.

And then I seemed sinking into deep green water, and there was a singing in my ears, as I have heard there is to drowning men, and then everything seemed passing away from me. My soul seemed to go out from my body and float about the air. I seem to remember that once the West Lighthouse was right under me, and then there was a sort of agonizing feeling, as if I were in an earthquake, and I came back and found you shaking my body. I saw you do it before I felt you" (Dracula, Chapter 8-Page 8).

By using the word Lighthouse, Stoker is referring to a strong phallic emblem and by using the word earthquake he implies on orgasm. Here Stoker couples the theme with consternation.

Mina soon learns of Jonathan's whereabouts. After his escape he is brought to a hospital is Budapest. He recuperates from his inexplicable and formidable experiences and learns to accept them as a dream. Mina goes to nurse Jonathan in his recovery and soon they marry. Jonathan gives away his diary, afraid to read it, to his wife who seals it away.

Meanwhile Lucy returns to England. Arthur who is afraid for her health asks for Dr. Seward's help. Confused by Lucy's illness, Seward refers to his mentor, Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Professor Abraham is a man with an open mind, i.e. he not only believes in the modern techniques offered by science but also in the superficial phenomenon which might have an influence in improving Lucy's condition. Besides using modern procedures such as blood transfusions, he also relies upon ancient methods such as hanging garlic flowers around Lucy's neck. Few days prior to Lucy's death her mother passes away from a heart attack during Dracula's mischievous scheme to get to Lucy. It is only after Lucy's death that Professor Abraham gets his hands on her diary and learns of her friend Mina.

After Jonathan and Mina return to England they learn of Jonathan's employer, Mr. Hawkin's death. He leaves all of his wealth in the name of the Harkers making Jonathan the owner of his law firm. Jonathan only believes of his experiences with Dracula after he once again encounters him in London. He recognizes the restoration of Dracula's youth, which could only occur by feeding on humans and as a reaction to it, faints. After regaining consciousness Jonathan cannot comprehend the reason for his being upset. Disturbed by his unusual behavior, his wife decides to go over the contents of his diary. To her dismay she actually wonders about her husband's sanity. It is not until her meeting with Professor Abraham that she realizes the viability about her husband's experiences. She hands Professor Abraham his journal, which serves as a missing link to Lucy's case.

Meanwhile strange deaths of children are heard of in the area where Lucy was buried. Professor Abraham claims Lucy to be the cause to Dr. Seward, Arthur and Quincey. He refers to her as the undead. Later in the novel, Arthur shoves a steak through Lucy's heart finally kills her. The four men plan to destroy Dracula next.

Jonathan and Mina after learning of the plan to kill Dracula join these four men in their quest, using Dr. Seward's asylum as their…[continue]

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