Dracula Summary and Analysis of Chapter 11-15

Summary Chapter 11

Includes the September 12th entry of Lucy Westenra's diary; the September 13th entry of Dr. Seward's diary; the September 17th entry of Lucy Westenra's diary; a September 18th article from the Pall Mall Gazette; the September 17th entry of Dr. Seward's diary; a telegram from Van Helsing to Dr. Seward, dated September 17th; the September 18th entry of Dr. Seward's diary; a memorandum left by Lucy Westenra, dated September 17th.

When Van Helsing and Seward arrive the next morning, they are greeted by Mrs. Westenra, who tells them cheerfully that she removed all of the flowers from the room, including the wreath around Lucy's neck, and opened the window to let in fresh air. Once Mrs. Westenra has left the room, Van Helsing breaks down‹the first time Seward has seen his old mentor lose control. Van Helsing regains his composure and the two men go into Lucy's room to find her horribly drained. This time, Van Helsing is the donor of the needed blood. He then warns Mrs. Westenra to never remove anything from the room, and he tells Dr. Seward that he himself will stay with Lucy for the next few nights. In her diary, Lucy reports feeling much better, even though she can hear the sound of something flapping angrily outside of her window.

The September 18th article in the Pall Mall Gazette reports that a large wolf has escaped from its cage and returned the next day, its head covered by broken glass.

Back at the asylum and awaiting word from Van Helsing, Seward is working in his office when he is attacked by Renfield. The lunatic bursts in and attacks him with a knife, cutting his wrist. Seward knocks him back with a punch, and at that point Renfield seems to lose interest in him. As the attendants rush in, Renfield is busying himself licking up the small pool of Seward's blood on the floor. Meanwhile, Van Helsing sends a telegram telling Seward to go to Hillingham and spend the night watching Lucy, as the older doctor needs to spend a day in Amsterdam. The telegram is delayed by a day, so Seward does not get the instructions on time.

Lucy has trouble sleeping, and her mother comes in to lie with her in bed. Suddenly, a wolf uses its head to smash through the window; only the animal's head breaks through the glass. Lucy's mother thrashes around fearfully, accidentally tearing away Lucy's garlic wreath. The old woman has a fatal heart attack. The wolf then withdraws its head and disappears, and Lucy loses consciousness. When she comes to, the four maids of the house come in. Terrified, they wrap Mrs. Westenra's body in a sheet and lay it on the bed. Lucy orders them to go to the kitchen and have a glass of wine to calm their nerves. She also lays all of the garlic flowers on her mother's body. When the maids don't come back, Lucy goes to the kitchen to find the four women unconscious; the wine smells like the drug laudanum. Lucy writes that the "air seems full of specks, floating and circling," and finishes her entry fearful that she will not survive the night.

Analysis Chapter 11

Van Helsing has very limited success in fighting Dracula. Mrs. Westenra unwittingly removes the garlic, dooming her daughter to another night of draining. Van Helsing tells no one of the thing that is responsible. When Lucy is revitalized by new blood, Seward is left doubting his own sanity, wondering if working at the asylum has incapacitated his mind‹here, as elsewhere in the novel, a character's casual comments play on the theme of slippage between madness and sanity.

Due to a delayed telegram, the vampire is given a window of opportunity, and here we see how cunning the Count can be. Although he is powerless to break through the entrance protected by garlic, he can use the wolf to smash through the glass. Note that Stoker places the newspaper article before the narrative of Lucy's memorandum, even though the dates show that the article came afterward. This move helps to create suspense, as the reader wonders about the significance of the escaped and returned wolf. Stoker's order also gives the events of the memorandum the climactic positioning in the chapter. The article reports that when the wolf returns, its head is covered in glass; this clue establishes that the wolf is the same animal Dracula uses to get to Lucy. In one move, Dracula causes the death of Mrs. Westenra, rids the room of the flowers (as Lucy covers her mother's body with them), and creates an opening through which he can enter. He uses the more common tactic of drugging the wine to put the maids out of the way.

Summary Chapter 12

Includes the September 18th and September 19th entries of Dr. Seward's diary; an unopened letter from Mina Harker to Lucy Westenra, dated September 17th; a report from Patrick Hennessey, M.D., to Dr. Seward, dated September 20th; an unopened letter from Mina Harker to Lucy Westenra, dated September 18th; and the September 20th entry of Dr. Seward's diary.

The two doctors arrive the next day but all of the entrances are locked; they are forced to break in through a window. They find the four maids unconscious, Mrs. Westenra dead, and Lucy near death. Seward wakes three of the servants (the fourth is young and continues to sleep), who draw up a bath for Lucy. A messenger arrives from Arthur Holmwood, but Seward tells the maid to tell the messenger to wait; he then forgets about him. After giving the unconscious Lucy a warm bath, the two doctors are at a loss: Lucy needs another transfusion, and neither of them has enough blood to give one. At that moment, Quincey Morris appears‹he is the messenger from Arthur that Seward has kept waiting. He gives the blood. Van Helsing has found Lucy's memorandum, which describes last night's events. He gives it to Seward, who does not know what to make of it, but for Van Helsing the memorandum confirms his suspicions. Later, Quincey asks Seward how Lucy could possibly absorb so much blood‹his is the fourth transfusion, and her body is not big enough to carry so much. While Lucy sleeps, Van Helsing puts the memorandum back on her chest, where he found it. In her sleep, she tries to rip the memorandum to pieces, but Van Helsing manages to save the piece of paper. The next day, Seward reports that Lucy's teeth look much longer and sharper. Arthur Holmwood arrives. He is overcome with emotion by the tragic events. Seward writes that he doubts Lucy will survive another day.

Meanwhile, Mina writes (in an unopened letter) to tell Lucy that she and Jonathan have returned to England. Jonathan is now the junior partner in Hawkins' firm, and Jonathan and Mina have been made the heirs to Hawkins' fortune.

Seward's assistant Patrick Hennessey reports the latest news on Renfield. On seeing two men who are carrying boxes of earth to the Carfax estate, Renfield escapes and attacks them before he is subdued and brought back to the asylum.

Mina writes to tell Lucy that Mr. Hawkins has died, leaving the Harkers his whole estate. Jonathan is deeply troubled, in mourning and anxious about his new responsibilities.

Lucy is near death. In her sleep, she tears away the garlic wreath that Van Helsing lays on her throat, and her teeth, particularly her canines, are very sharp. Whenever she is awake, she pulls the flowers near her; when asleep, she pushes them away. Seward notices a bat flying around outside. On the morning of September 20th, the doctors discover that the wounds on her throat have completely disappeared. Van Helsing says gravely that the end is near, and they call in Arthur. Lucy asks Arthur to kiss her, "in a soft, voluptuous voice, such as I [Seward] had never heard from her lips." He is about to do so, when Van Helsing stops him. At first, Lucy is enraged, but after a moment and a short sleep she regains her old self. She calls Van Helsing her true friend, and asks him to protect Arthur and to give her peace. The old man solemnly swears that he will do both. Her eyes meet with Arthur's after he kisses her on the forehead instead of the lips, and she dies. She seems to regain her beauty in death, the color returning to her face.

Analysis Chapter 12

Renfield's licking of Seward's blood suggests why he has given up eating flies‹his desire to consume life has found a new model in the vampire. He seeks to serve his master and also to imitate him.

A series of tragedies hit all at once: Mrs. Westenra, Arthur's father, Mr. Hawkins, and Lucy all day within a few days of each other. (The death of Arthur's father is implied in the September 20th entry of Seward's diary.) Lucy's transformation is already under way. Her teeth sharpen, and while she sleeps she cannot bear the scent of garlic. She also attempts to destroy the evidence provided in her own memorandum. Her voice, when she asks Arthur for a kiss, is far more sexual than any voice Lucy has ever used. She is on her way to becoming a depraved sexual being, like the women in Dracula's castle. Her transformation is from a flirtatious but basically pure Victorian maiden to a sexually wanton member of the undead. She seems aware, in the end, of what is happening. She asks Van Helsing to protect Arthur and give her peace‹which will mean destroying the vampire that she is about to become.

Summary Chapter 13

From Dr. Seward's diary; the September 22nd entry of Mina Harker's journal; the September 22nd entry of Dr. Seward's diary; and two articles from the Westminster Gazette, dated September 25th.

Lucy and Mrs. Westenra are to be buried together. Van Helsing takes possession of Lucy's diary, and the two doctors deal with the logistics of the burial and the Westenras' papers. Lucy's body has been dressed and prepared by the undertaker and his staff, and if anything looks more beautiful than ever. Van Helsing seems disturbed by this phenomenon, and he puts garlic flowers around the bed and the body. He also puts a crucifix over Lucy's mouth. He tells Seward that the next day they are going to decapitate her and stuff her mouth with garlic. But the next morning, Van Helsing reports to Seward that the crucifix was stolen (although he retrieved it) and consequently they will have to wait before doing anything. Seward cannot understand Van Helsing's actions, but he trusts him. Arthur Holmwood (Lord Godalming now that his father is dead) is the beneficiary of the Westenras' estate. When he arrives, heartbroken and in deep pain, Van Helsing and he affirm that they are friends. Van Helsing asks to read Lucy's diary, and Arthur gives his permission.

Mina and Jonathan are in London when Jonathan sees the Count. Suddenly he seems to remember something‹he is horrified, saying that the Count is here and is now grown young, but he is so upset that he passes out and on waking can remember nothing. Disturbed by these bouts of forgetfulness, Mina resolves to open Jonathan's diary and read it for his own sake. But that night, they arrive home to find a telegram informing them of the deaths of Lucy and Mrs. Westenra. Meanwhile, as Seward reports in what he believes will be his last diary entry, Lucy is buried and Van Helsing is going to Amsterdam for a brief visit.

Newspaper reports show that a number of children have temporarily gone missing in the same area where Lucy was buried. The children claim to have played with a "bloofer lady." They return with small bite wounds on their necks.

Analysis Chapter 13

Stoker continues to establish, even under tragic conditions, the stalwart manhood of his band of heroes. Van Helsing and Arthur affirm that they are friends, and Arthur, though crushed, is comforted by the steady gentleness of Quincey Morris and Dr. Seward.

Lucy has now become a victimizer of children. Her attacks against children are a perversion of motherly behavior, and they also parallel the crimes of a pedophile. The sexual nature of the vampire's attacks is already well-established, and the "bloofer lady" always lures the children away with innocent-sounding invitations. Like the vampires in the castle, she now preys on the young and helpless. But there is an element of seduction in it that makes the children willingly go with her: later, in Chapter XV, one of her victims wakes in the hospital and ask immediately if he can go "play with the Œbloofer lady.'"

Summary Chapter 14

Includes the September 23rd and September 24th entries of Mina Harker's journal; a letter from Van Helsing to Mina Harker, dated September 24th; a telegram from Mrs. Harker to Van Helsing, dated September 25th; letters between Van Helsing and Mrs. Harker, dated September 25th; the September 26th entry of Jonathan Harker's journal; and the September 26th entry of Dr. Seward's diary.

Mina reads Jonathan's journal, and is troubled by the contents. She believes that the writings in the journal may have been influenced by the brain fever, but she is not sure. She decides to transcribe it (it is in shorthand), so that it might be made intelligible to others if the need arises. Van Helsing, who has read Mina's letters to Lucy, visits Mina to ask questions about the events leading up to Lucy's death. Mina is impressed by the doctor, and she gives him Jonathan's journal. Van Helsing reads it and comes to see the Harkers the next day. Jonathan's spirits are restored by Van Helsing's belief in him, and he is regaining his memories of the horrible events in Transylvania. Van Helsing praises Mina, her mind and her virtue, and he pledges friendship with Jonathan. He wants to ask questions to Jonathan about Transylvania at some point in the near future. As he is leaving by train, he sees the newspaper article on the "bloofer lady" and is horrified by how quickly the attacks have begun.

Dr. Seward has reopened his diary. He reports that Renfield is back to his old business of flies and spiders. He meets with Van Helsing, who shows him the article about the wounded children and insinuates a connection between Lucy's death and the recent attacks. Seward is skeptical. Van Helsing launches into a long speech about the many unexplained phenomena in the world, urging him to open his mind. Seward guesses that whatever thing caused Lucy's death is now attacking children, which Van Helsing sadly denies. He tells Seward that the attacks were made by Lucy herself.

Analysis Chapter 14

Note how little conflict there is between the heroes of the novel. All are united by virtue, pledges of friendship, and love. With the group on its way to being assembled into a full team, and with Jonathan's journal in the hands of Van Helsing, the novel has reached a major turning point. Van Helsing now knows more about what he is up against, and soon the whole group will be united in the fight against Dracula. The theme of friendship, particularly between men, is important. Many scenes have men pledging friendship with one another or pledging their loyalty to Mina. Their unity will be an indispensable asset.

The coincidence of Dracula attacking Lucy, who happened to be Mina's best friend, is an argument that fate or providence has a strong hand in the novel's events. The theme of fate or God's hand in events is touched on throughout the novel. Van Helsing later states that Mina was fashioned by God for some great purpose, and the great coincidence of Jonathan's connection to Lucy seems too unlikely to be pure chance. Later, Mina wonders aloud if God chose them to suffer and do his work. Dracula is thwarted because he chooses a victim with a connection to Jonathan, a victim who is friends with a friend of Van Helsing‹these forces combine to make his attempted "invasion" of England impossible. Harker was somehow able to survive his escape from the castle, and Van Helsing's arrival on the scene will be vital for the vampire's defeat. Fate seems to have a hand in bringing together the right people to bring about Dracula's defeat.

Dr. Seward's reopening of his journal, which he though he had finished, parallels the unfinished nature of Lucy's death. What should have been the end, as Van Helsing cryptically says, is only the beginning.

Summary Chapter 15

Includes the September 26th and September 27th entries of Seward's diary; a note left by Van Helsing for Seward (not delivered), dated September 27th; and the September 28th and September 29th entries of Seward's diary.

Seward is doubtful of Van Helsing's theory, but he agrees to accompany him to examine one of the child victims. The wounds are nearly identical to the ones Lucy had, and the doctor tells them that the child asked, on waking, if he could go and "play with the Œbloofer lady.'" That night, Seward and Van Helsing break into the Westenra family vault. Lucy's coffin is empty, but Seward remains unconvinced. They wait outside. Just before daybreak, a white figure is seen moving across the graveyard. Van Helsing finds a small child. They leave the child on a pathway for a policeman to find; the two men wait in the bushes until they are sure the child is safe. The next day, they break into the vault and find Lucy's body in the coffin. If anything, she looks more beautiful and radiant than ever. Van Helsing finally reveals to Seward, in explicit terms, that her death was caused by a vampire and she is now one of the undead. Although he wants to kill her now, he thinks it is best that Arthur learn of what has happened. He will use garlic and crucifix to keep Lucy in her tomb. After a night's sleep, Seward begins to doubt Van Helsing again. That day, Van Helsing tells Quincey and Arthur that they most go to the Westenra vault and open Lucy's tomb. He tells them that Lucy is now undead, and that he will have to decapitate her. Arthur is initially outraged, and refuses consent, but after an impassioned plea for trust from Van Helsing, he agrees to at least go to the tomb.

Analysis Chapter 15

Even after all that he has seen Seward finds it difficult to accept Van Helsing's theory. He wonders if Van Helsing has gone mad. Part of the horror of the vampire is that it leads one to question his sanity and the sanity of others: the threat of madness is one that seems to affect Seward heavily and constantly. He questions his own sanity and the sanity of his mentor. Remember also that Jonathan Harker's encounter with the supernatural literally drove him mad. In this chapter, the theme of madness and its threat plays itself out as a fear of being able to trust one's own judgement or the judgement of others. The possibility of madness threatens the legitimacy of reason and scientific method. Everything is thrown into doubt, including evidence provided by the senses and the conclusions reached through one's judgement.