Dracula
Bram Stoker
Contributed by Eleanor Sherer
Chapter 26-28
Summary

Chapter XXVI

While on the train from Varna to Galatz, Seward writes an entry in his diary. He talks about Mina’s trances, saying that they seem to reveal less and less. However, they still have a certain amount of value. Mina perceives the sound of lapping water. This is what lets the band know that the count is still somewhere close to water. The men are eager to get to Galatz prior to the box being unloaded, but they end up being too late. The Czarina Catherine’s captain tells them that a businessman called Immanuel Hildesheim picked up the box and gave it to a trader called Petrof Skinsky. Soon after this, Skinsky’s body is discovered in a graveyard. His throat has been torn out. Once Mina has investigated the potential routes that the count could use to go back to his castle, the group splits up and spreads out. Mina and Van Helsing travel on a train, while Holmwood and Harker use a steamboat. Morris and Seward cross the countryside on horseback. Van Helsing rushes in the direction of the castle, hoping he can purify the place before the count arrives.

As Jonathan and Arthur travel up the river, they hear word of a large double-crewed boat making its way ahead of them. They decide that this vessel must be the boat on which the count is traveling. Morris and Seward hurry on with their horses. In the meantime, Mina makes record of the fact that she and Van Helsing have made it to the town of Veresti. While there, they are compelled to take a horse and carriage the remainder of the way to the count’s castle. Mina therefore travels through the same picturesque countryside that her husband had seen during his time in Transylvania months before.

Chapter XXVII

Van Helsing writes a memorandum to Seward. He says that he and Mina have arrived at the Borgo Pass. AS they make their way on the trail in the direction of the castle, Van Helsing discovers that he is no longer able to hypnotize Mina. That evening, in fear for her safety, he places a ring of crumbled holy Communion wafers around her. There is a reappearance of the three female vampires that Harker saw months before. They attempt tempting Van Helsing and Mina to accompany them. As they do this, they frighten the horses so badly that they die.

After leaving Mina sleeping within the holy wafer circle, Van Helsing walks off on foot. He reaches the castle the following afternoon. He discovers the three female vampires’ tombs and finds himself almost paralyzed by their beauty. He compels himself to carry out the rituals needed to destroy them. Van Helsing then discovers a tomb “more lordly than all the rest…[and] nobly proportioned.” The tomb has the inscription of Dracula’s name. The professor uses Communion wafers to cleanse this. He finally seals the doors of the castle with wafers. This is intended to forever prevent Dracula from entering. Van Helsing and Mina depart from the castle and travel east. They hope to meet with the others. A heavy snowfall occurs and there is the sound of wolves howling. When sunset arrives, they see a large cart. It is on the road below them and is driven by Gypsies. It carries a box of earth. Mina and Van Helsing are in a remote location watching Harker, Morris, Seward, and Holmwood get closer to the Gypsies. The sun is rapidly sinking and the men are able to intercept the cart. Harker throws the box to the ground and Morris suffers an injury. Together, however, they are able to pry the lid open. Holmwood and Seward lift their rifles and aim at the Gypsies.

Mina witnesses the count’s expression of hate turn into one of triumph. Yet at that moment, Harker slashes the vampire’s throat and then Morris plunges his knife into his heart. When Dracula dies, his body crumbles, turning to dust. Mina sees that there is a “look of peace” on his face. She describes it as “such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.” Morris suffers a fatal wound. Before he passes away he notes that the Mina’s scar on her forehead has vanished.
There is a short coda after this. We read that it was written by Harker seven years after these events. In it, we learn that he and Mina have a son called Quincey and that both Holmwood and Seward are happily married.

Analysis

The author reiterates the threatening nature of unrestrained female sexuality through the reintroduction of the three vampire women who try to seduce Harker in the opening chapters of the novel. There are two distinct threats posed by these women. Firstly, there is the possibility that they could convert Mina and take away her virtue, making her a soulless vixen. Secondly, they threaten to undermine the force of the men’s reason and therefore the certainty with which they rule the world. Van Helsing is almost paralyzed by the wish to love and protect the voluptuous vampires. He says, “She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex to love and protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion.” Even the doctor, normally so pious, finds himself relatively weak in the face of the diabolical temptation the female vampires present.

In these concluding chapters, we witness several opposing forces finally meet for battle. We see the conflict between Victorian ideas of propriety and moral laxity, as well as ones between East and West and Christian faith and evil magic. The Gypsies who bring the count’s casket to the castle are representative of the East’s powerful and mysterious forces. It represents a land that is ruled by powerful traditions and superstitions rather than science and economics. The Gypsies are determined to defend Dracula against what they see as Western intruders. In doing so, they are part of a dark and foreign landscape, one that seems almost ungovernable to the English. Wolves and storms harass Van Helsing and Mina as they progress to the count’s castle. The professor loses his ability to hypnotize Mina. The invasion ends up being successful in spite of the landscape and local people’s hostility. Van Helsing cleanses the castle and destroys the three vampire women, putting them back in an eternal state of innocence and purity. Stoker generates significant suspense and drama when the group is finally able to catch up to Dracula in the final pages of the novel. The sunset has a terrifying appearance and it approaches in an ominous manner. They find themselves racing against time and are only able to enjoy victory by way of mortal sacrifice and enormous effort. Mina sees a look of peace take over the face of Dracula as he dies. This moment in the story corresponds to one of the author’s overarching ideas, which is that of Christian redemption. While Dracula can always be discussed as a novel centering on Victorian anxieties, it can also be seen as a novel of Christian propaganda. It is strict in its adherence to Christian doctrine, which provides eternal salvation to people who have successfully cleansed themselves of evil. Concerned that her scar will prevent her from receiving the grace of God, Mina prays, “I am unclean in His eyes, and shall be until He may deign to let me stand forth in His sight as one of those who have not incurred His wrath.” It is in this prayer that Mina expresses the wish of every member of the group. Their struggle has been a fight of good against evil in a Christian context.

The brief coda describes the way the documents have been arranged. It mirrors the book’s Author’s Note and is designed to strengthen an emotion of authenticity. This is meant to assure us that the events we had become privy to are historical fact rather than fiction. It is in this manner that Stoker hopes he will be able to bridge the divide between the real and fictional and the natural and supernatural worlds.

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