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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Dracula: The ending

Yesterday I lost lots of blood. Had a tiny accident at work and there was blood everywhere, on the table, on the sink, in the kit box, all over all of my plasters- it was a deep cut, the blood kept flowing and flowing and flowing with no sign of stopping until I covered it up.
Dracula would have liked it.
There was also another kind of bleeding.
Anyway....
I finished reading Dracula late last night. Still puzzled by Bram Stoker's novel, especially the last page. Questions: Why is the Count not there for most of the book? Does anyone else feel bothered by the way Arthur is often off-stage when many significant things happen, especially those involving Lucy? Is it just me or Quincey Morris seems like a superfluous character? How should we feel about him? And his death? How are we to interpret the lines "It is an added joy to Mina and to me that our boy's birthday is the same day as that on which Quincey Morris died" and "His mother holds, I know, the secret belief that some of our brave friend's spirit has passed into him", when we know that it's also the day Count Dracula dies? Why does the book end with Van Helsing's talk about Mina Harker and about "how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake"? What's the meaning of the men's devotion to Lucy and, later, to Mina? What's up with number 3, in 3 female vampires and 3 male suitors? There must be a deliberate parallel between the devotion to goodness (Lucy, Mina, humanity) and to evil (Dracula, vampires, blood-sucking), between voluntary and involuntary devotion.
Maud Ellmann's introduction is quite interesting. She mentions and discusses several different readings, and sums up in the last paragraph: 
"... Dracula has been interpreted as a figure for perversion, menstruation, venereal disease, female sexuality, male homosexuality, feudal aristocracy, monopoly capitalism, the proletariat, the Jew, the primal father, the Antichrist, and the typewriter..." 
Each interpretation has nice arguments, but I don't find any of them strongly convincing. Have to think more about it. 

8 comments:

  1. Di,

    :Here's my simplistic answer: I enjoyed reading it and use it as the touchstone for vampire stories. As for the various interpretations and problems--didn't notice them when I was reading the novel and don't worry about them now. I like it for what it is: a good horror story.

    As for Dracula not being present for most of the story--that's what a good monster should be--absent most of the time while others worry about it.

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    1. I'm not fond of those readings. Too much symbolism. But I'm not dismissing them entirely either.

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  2. The last page of the novel is hilarious.

    Later versions of the story, film and prose, ignore and omit Quincey Morris. You are right that he is superfluous. This was not the most well-planned novel.

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    1. I've just watched an adaptation that combines Quincey and Arthur and calls him Quincey Holmwood.
      That film's just ridiculous.
      (So it's all right to laugh at the last page? :D)

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  3. Did you find it frustrating when Mina began exhibiting exactly the same symptoms as Lucy, but no one connected that with the presence of a vampire?

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    1. I was frustrated by lots of things in the book.

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    2. - Van Helsing's English.
      - Everyone making notes of some kind and nobody telling anybody anything.
      - The melodramatic declarations of devotion and all the praises for Mina that are repeated over and over again.
      - Jonathan's reaction to all the weird things he sees and encounters on the way to, and in, the castle.
      Now having listed them, I realise that there aren't a lot.

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