Dracula
Bram Stoker
Contributed by Eleanor Sherer
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Chapter 12-14
Summary

Chapter XII

Seward’s diary entries again become the focus of the narrative. We read that when Van Helsing and Seward get to the Westenra house the next day, they discover the scene of devastation: the maids are unconscious in the dining room, Mrs. Westenra is dead, and Lucy is again near death. She has horrible wounds on her neck. Neither Van Helsing nor Seward can spare to give any more blood, but Quincey Morris, Lucy’s third suitor, appears. He agrees to have his blood taken for a transfusion. Morris is confused and inquires what has happened to all the blood that has already been given to Lucy. Holmwood then arrives. The recent death of his father as well as that of Mrs. Westenra, and Lucy’s suffering, make him feel desolate. However, his being there helps to boost his fiancee’s spirits.

Mina is unaware of what has happened to Lucy. She writes a letter to her friend, letting her know that she and Jonathan are now married and back in England. Dr. Seward’ assistant sends a letter telling the doctor that Renfield escaped again. The patient attacked two men. They were carrying boxes of earth from Carfax. Van Helsing puts garlic all around his dying patient. However, Lucy shoves it away as she sleeps. During the night, Dr. Seward checks on Lucy. He sees there is a bat near the window. The wounds on Lucy’s neck disappear on the morning of September 20. Believing that Lucy is near death, the doctors wake up Holmwood. They bring him to Lucy to say good-bye. Lucy uses an oddly seductive voice when asking Holmwood to kiss her. Van Helsing pulls the man away, telling him only to kiss the young woman on her forehead. Holmwood follows these instructions. Lucy dies. She suddenly regains the beauty that was taken from her during her illness.

Chapter XIII

We continue to read Seward’s diary entries. He provides a description of Lucy’s burial. Before the funeral takes place, Van Helsing uses garlic to cover the coffin and body. He puts a crucifix in Lucy’s mouth. Seward is distressed when he informs him that once the funeral is done, they will need to cut off Lucy’s head and remove her heart. The following day, though, Van Helsing finds that the crucifix has been stolen from the body. He tells Seward they will have to wait before they do anything. Holmwood has had the name Lord Godalming since his father died. He is heartbroken by Lucy’s death and hopes that Seward will give him consolation. Holmwood has trouble believing that Lucy is really dead as she looks at her strangely beautiful corpse. Van Helsing asks Holmwood to give him Lucy’s personal papers. He hopes they will hold some clue regarding the cause of her death.

In the meantime, Mina records in her diary that while in London she and Jonathan have witnessed the sight of a tall and fierce looking man. This man has a beard and mustache. Jonathan believes that the man is Count Dracula. Jonathan’s distress is so intense that he goes into a deep sleep. He isn’t able to remember anything when he wakes. Mina concludes that for the sake of her husband’s health, she is obliged to read the diary entries he wrote in Transylvania.

That evening, Mina gets a telegram notifying her of Lucy’s demise. After this comes an excerpt from a local newspaper. It reports that several children have been temporarily abducted. They were taken in Hampstead Health. This is the area where Lucy was buried. The children are said to have been abducted by a bizarre woman the children referred to as the “Bloofer Lady.” The children have inexplicable wounds on their neck when they return home.

Chapter XIV

Mina is horrified by the contents of her husband journal as she transcribes it. Van Helsing visits her to talk about the events that led up to Lucy’s death. She finds him so impressive that she asks him to read Jonathan’s diary. Van Helsing takes the diary and reads it and comes back to see the couple the next morning. It is clear that Van Helsing believes the truth of Jonathan’s observations. This helps to bring back Jonathan’s memories of the time he spent in Transylvania. Recognizing that Dracula must have come to England, Harker starts a new diary.

Seward says that Renfield has gone back to his practice of catching spiders and flies. When Van Helsing goes to see the young doctor, he talks about the newspaper reports of the “Bloofer Lady.” He makes sure to note that the children always come back with wounds on their necks and that these wounds are similar to those they once saw on Lucy’s neck. While Seward seems skeptical there could be any connection, his mentor encourages him to accept the possibility of supernatural forces—in other words, events that reason and science cannot explain. Van Helsing suddenly shares his conclusion that Lucy must be the one responsible for the children’s experiences.

Analysis

The reader witnesses the transformation of Lucy into a supernatural creature in this section. The nature of her death immediately makes us understand that she has crossed in the world of the supernatural. The wounds on the young woman’s neck are no longer visible and her “loveliness [comes] back to her in death.” The newspaper reports of the menacing “Bloofer Lady” make us understand that Lucy is now a vampire. The count’s attack has changed her from a model of the chaste and pure English woman to an overtly sexual predator. During Holmwood’s final visit to Lucy, he is startled by her physical appearance: “she looked her best, with all the soft lines matching the angelic beauty of her eyes.” The forwardness she shows in which she demands sexual satisfaction is equally surprising: “Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!”

The power of Dracula has been successful in transforming a former example of Victorian Britain’s female ideal.
In Lucy’s body we see a metaphorical battleground between good and evil, as well as between forces of liberation and repression with regard to female sexuality. Dracula wants control of Lucy because he believes that he can access many Englishmen through her. Van Helsing’s crew gives her the blood of brave men, which they think is the “best thing on earth when a woman is in trouble.” This conflict is reflective of Victorian society’s struggle to recognize and accept women’s sexuality. In Victorian England, women were valued for their domesticity and docility. This left them no room for openly expressing sexual desire, even within marriage. While Mina is married, she appears to be just as chaste as Lucy. The Victorian focus on purity was pervasive. Fewer than two decades before the publication of Dracula, medical authorities still thought that meat could be spoiled if a menstruating woman touched it.

These prejudices are articulated by Van Helsing as he speaks in praise of Mina’s character. He says:
She is one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist—and that, let me tell you, is much in this age, so skeptical and selfish.”

This statement indicates the belief that women who do not have this level of sweetness, truth, modesty, and nobility have no place in Victorian culture. While Lucy has all these in plenty, she also has a flaw: her open attitude with regard to sexual adventure. When we recall the lesson Van Helsing provides in vampire lore, we are aware that Dracula is unable to enter a home unless invited in. It is true that no character even puts any blame on Lucy for her supposed weakness, we know that she has fallen from grace. In Victorian society, any wantonness in women has a high price. Lucy pays dearly in Dracula.

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