Summary: Chapter XII
The narrative returns to Seward’s diary entries. Arriving at the Westenras’ the next day, Van Helsing and Seward find the scene of destruction: the maids unconscious on the dining room floor, Mrs. Westenra dead, and Lucy once again at death’s door, with terrible, mangled wounds at her neck. Neither of the men can spare any more blood, but Lucy’s third suitor, Quincey Morris, appears and agrees to take part in a transfusion. Puzzled, Morris asks what has become of all the blood that has already been transferred to Lucy. Holmwood arrives. His father’s recent death, combined with the loss of Mrs. Westenra and Lucy’s failing health, nearly makes him despondent, but his presence helps rally his fiancée’s spirits.
Unaware of what has befallen Lucy, Mina writes a letter informing Lucy that she and Jonathan have married and have returned to England. Dr. Seward’s assistant writes to tell him that Renfield escaped again and attacked two men carrying boxes of earth from Carfax. Van Helsing surrounds his dying patient with garlic, but she pushes the flowers away as she sleeps. When Seward checks on Lucy during the night, he notices a bat hovering near her window. On the morning of September 20, the wounds on Lucy’s neck disappear. Sensing that Lucy is nearing the end of her life, the doctors awaken Holmwood and bring him to say good-bye. In a strangely seductive voice, Lucy begs Holmwood to kiss her, but Van Helsing pulls him away, instructing him to kiss Lucy only on the forehead. Holmwood complies with Van Helsing’s instructions, and Lucy dies, recovering in death the beauty that she lost during her long illness.
Summary: Chapter XIII
Seward’s diary continues, as he describes Lucy’s burial. Before the funeral, Van Helsing covers the coffin and body with garlic and places a crucifix in Lucy’s mouth. He tells a confused Seward that after the funeral, they must cut off Lucy’s head and take out her heart. The next day, however, Van Helsing discovers that someone has stolen the crucifix from the body and tells Seward that they will have to wait before doing anything more. The heartbroken Holmwood—referred to as Lord Godalming since his father’s death—turns to Seward for consolation. Looking at Lucy’s unnaturally lovely corpse, Holmwood cannot believe she is really dead. Van Helsing asks Holmwood for Lucy’s personal papers, hoping that they will provide some clue as to the cause of her death.
Meanwhile, Mina writes in her diary that in London she and Jonathan have seen a tall, fierce man with a black mustache and beard. Jonathan is convinced the man is Count Dracula. Jonathan becomes so upset that he slips into a deep sleep and remembers nothing when he wakes. Mina decides that, for the sake of her husband’s health, she must read his diary entries from his time in Transylvania.
That night, Mina receives a telegram informing her of Lucy’s death. This message is followed by an excerpt from a local paper, which reports that a number of children have been temporarily abducted in Hampstead Heath—the area where Lucy was buried—by a strange woman whom the children call the “Bloofer Lady.” When the children return home, they bear strange wounds on their necks.
Summary: Chapter XIV
Transcribing her husband’s journal, Mina is horrified by its contents. When Van Helsing visits Mina in order to discuss the events leading up to Lucy’s death, she is so impressed that she gives him Jonathan’s diary to read. Van Helsing reads the diary and returns to see the couple at breakfast the next day. Van Helsing’s belief in Jonathan’s observations restores the young man’s memories of his time in Transylvania. Realizing that Dracula must indeed have journeyed to England, Harker begins a new diary.
Seward reports that Renfield has returned to his habit of catching flies and spiders. Van Helsing visits the young doctor and points out the newspaper accounts of the “Bloofer Lady,” taking care to note that the abducted children always reappear with wounds on their necks similar to those that appeared on Lucy’s neck. Seward is skeptical of any connection, but his mentor urges him to believe in the possibility of the supernatural—of occurrences that cannot be explained by reason. Van Helsing suddenly concludes that it must be Lucy who is responsible for the marks on the children’s necks.
Analysis: Chapters XII–XIV
In this section, we witness Lucy’s transformation into a super-natural creature. The description of her death immediately alerts us that she has crossed into the realm of the supernatural: the wounds on her neck disappear and all of her “loveliness [comes] back to her in death.” The clippings about the threatening “Bloofer Lady” make it clear that Lucy has indeed become a vampire. Dracula’s attack has transformed a model of English chastity and purity into an openly sexual predator. When Holmwood visits Lucy for the last time, her physical appeal startles him: “she looked her best, with all the soft lines matching the angelic beauty of her eyes.” Equally startling is the newfound forwardness with which she demands sexual satisfaction: “Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!” Dracula’s power has indeed topped one former example of the Victorian female ideal.
Lucy’s body also becomes a metaphorical battleground between the forces of good and evil, between the forces for liberation and repression of female sexuality. While Dracula fights for control of Lucy, through whom he believes he can access many Englishmen, Van Helsing’s crew pumps her full of brave men’s blood, which they believe is the “best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble.” This battle reflects the struggle of Victorian society to recognize and accept female sexuality. Victorian England prized women for their docility and domesticity, leaving them no room for open expression of sexual desire, even within the confines of marriage. Mina, though married, appears no less chaste than Lucy. This obsession with purity was pervasive: less than twenty years before the publication of Dracula, medical authorities still believed that a menstruating woman could spoil meat simply by touching it.
Van Helsing articulates these prejudices of the Victorian age as he praises Mina’s character, saying:
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.”
Van Helsing’s statement implies that a woman who cannot manage this much truth, sweetness, nobility, and modesty has no place in Victorian society. Though Lucy possesses all of these in plenty, she also betrays a fatal flaw: her openness to sexual adventure. Recalling Van Helsing’s lesson in vampire lore, we know that Dracula is powerless to enter a home unless invited. The count thus would not have been able to access Lucy’s bedroom unless she invited him in. Though no character ever blames Lucy for her susceptibility to seduction—or even mentions it—we are aware that the young woman has fallen from grace. Victorian society firmly dictated that wantonness came at a high price, and in Dracula, Lucy pays dearly.
by Somethingisbrokehere, January 08, 2013
Please let me state again: Finding anything sexual about Lucy's death and stating it as "unambiguous" that stake is a reference to a penis is absurd. Have you even read the book? I've read the book and I understand it well. Now here is a question: If a stake really meant penis than what did it offer in the books overall meaning? That a bunch of Christians are killing the undead by nailing their penises through people's hearts? Really? That is exactly what your notes are saying and it is embarrassing to think that someone ACTUALLY BELIEVES TH... Read more→
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by Mysticmidget, January 10, 2013
I agree with "somethingisbrokehere". I read through this summary to aid in an essay about this book and was positively shocked...though it gave me plenty of giggles! Dracula has many things about it which make it partly comedy to me, though of course it's only due to the change of the times. The thought of Bram Stoker reading this site's take on his novel is...oh, do try it, it is HILARIOUS. Psychoanalyzing can be taken too far, and I would ask that this site DOES NOT CHANGE THEIR TAKE ON LUCY'S FINAL DEATH, because in the future I might lik
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by Somethingisbrokehere, February 05, 2013
Okay I should've gone into detail more, but the whole penis idea doesn't fit into the plot and doesn't make sense. First of all from a Christian perspective (Mr. Stoker was Protestant) that would be considered an evil thing to do. Since they are undead that would similar to necrophilia which is most definitely unChristian and would go against everything the book is talking about. Also remember, this book was written in 1897 which really wasn't that long ago. The whole idea of stakes being penises doesn't make sense as cleansing (I don't thin
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