Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dracula summary (ft. if John was a cat, he'd only have 4 lives left)

Dracula begins with Jonthan Harker writing a diary entry. It spans a few days and goes into detail about the lovely country side and picturesque views of the Carpathian mountains. John even makes note of a few dishes he's had and jots down notes to remind himself to get the recipes. So far, the whole book is written in this style. Diary entries and letters back and forth make the story more relatable and interesting, like you're getting a glimpse into the lives of real people and not just characters in a book props to Stoker for taking this route. Now, all this traveling takes us to the midpoint of the chapter this is where things start to get interesting. After his night at an inn, the innkeepers were hesitant to let him get in the coach that would take him to Draculas castle. In the end, John's dedication to work trumps the locals fears but, he doesn't leave with out a crucifix around his neck (he will be glad he got it later) and off he goes to see what awaits him in Count Dracula's castle.

In the next few chapters, we get to know the castle and it's owner as John engages Dracula with talks of his trip, England and the specifics of the property the Count just purchased. John stays mostly in the library when he isn't eating, the count warns him against exploring the many rooms of this old castle but his curiosity gets the best of him. Although his first sweep didn't unearth anything to be worried about, all that is about the change. John likes to shave when he wakes up, as any respectable man of his time, so once day he is doing just that when Dracula decides to pop in with a friendly “Hello”. Much to Johns surprise, Dracla has.....wait for it...NO REFLECTION. John understandably freaks out accidentally nicks himself with his shaving glass. This garners a frightfully homicidal reaction from Dracula but the only casualty is the shaving class its self (a moment of silence for the shaving glass and John's sanity.)

This, is where (I think) the true horror begins for John and for us, fellow readers. Here is where we start getting a feel for how unkind and menacing Dracula really is. He quickly changes from inquisitive host to prison guard doing things like: forcing John write letters in advance so his loved ones back home will be none the wiser and stealing the clothes John arrived in to mail said letters under the cover of darkness. And how, did he leave to mail these letters? Well he crawled out the window of course. On one of John's nightly strolls about his wing of the castle, he happened upon a window that faced Dracula's only to see the count him self crawl out wearing John's clothing in a 'lizard-like fashion' as John puts it. From here, things only get worse for John because on yet another walk of the castle he find a room with a door that's so old he could push it aside. Inside, he finds what seems to be a lady’s drawing room. After foolishly taking a nap on a old, dusty sofa—something Dracula told him not to do—he awakes to find three beautiful ladies standing over him. As you may have guessed, these ladies are also of Dracula's kind and quickly try to devour John. If Dracula had not intervened when he did with a little orphan boy for the beastly ladies to feed on, John would've been vampire chow.

You know that phrase “curiosity killed the cat”? Well, if John was a cat he would be down at least..... four or maybe even fives lives by now. Although this is a bad thing for our dear John, I think we hold the same curiosity when it comes to horror movies and novels. Besides the release we get from reading such things, they are often with an element of suspense that keeps us engaged and wanting more. Such is the case with Stoker's Dracula, not only does the creative turn by turn personal account (dairies, letter ect.) writing style keep it interesting but the author is good at keeping us wanting to know what happens next.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great summary, Collette! And I really like your comparison of John to a cat :-) He does seem to get pretty lucky :-)

    But what about King's article? Do we see his ideas coming to fruition in the novel?