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Summary Chapters VIII–IX
Summary Chapters VIII–IX

Although Mina does not yet realize the nature of her friend’s sleepwalking excursions, she is filled with anxiety not only for Lucy’s health, but also for “her reputation in case the story should get wind.” Already viewed to some degree as a dangerous sexual adventurer, Lucy begins her transformation from a pure maiden into a figure of female wantonness. In this sense, Dracula threatens not merely a single girl, but also the entire moral order of the Victorian world and its ideals of sexual purity.

The epistolary form of the novel allows Stoker to maintain suspense throughout, not only keeping us in the dark, but also keeping his own characters guessing at the nature of their own predicaments. Indeed, at this point in the novel, we know much more than any one individual character does. Though we understand the implications of the shipment of earth that arrives at Carfax, Dr. Seward does not, which means he has no way to explain the increasingly drastic behavior of his patient, Renfield. Continuing with this technique and permitting the events to unfold in the present tense allows Stoker to achieve an impressive amount of suspense.