Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Letter from Seward to Arthur. Seward reports to Arthur that Lucy has taken a step backward, and that any sudden shock might be enough to kill her; but Seward says he has hope that Van Helsing can both cure Lucy and make more comfortable Lucy's mother, who herself is very ill.
Arthur realizes, at this point, that he must care for Lucy just as he cares for his father, and that both these people—whom he loves more than anyone else in the world—might die very soon, if left untreated.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Seward's Diary. September 7. Van Helsing tells Seward that he has some idea what is causing Lucy's illness, but he does not want to reveal that idea to Seward yet, as he must test a few hypotheses on Lucy before he is convinced. Seward is frustrated by this but agrees to Van Helsing's tack, since Van Helsing was Seward's Professor, and is an extremely knowledgeable man.
Van Helsing, still a man of science and of great occult learning, realizes that he must "prove" his supernatural explanation, if this explanation is to have any power at all to convince Seward. Therefore Van Helsing waits to collect more evidence related to Lucy's condition.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Van Helsing visits Lucy and sees that she has lost even more blood. Van Helsing determines that Lucy must have a blood transfusion, and Seward, who is younger and in better health, offers to give the blood. But just at this moment Arthur returns from his father's bedside, and Van Helsing asks Arthur, the youngest of them all, and also Lucy's fiancée, to donate his blood. Arthur readily assents.
An important plot point or wrinkle is here glazed over—neither Van Helsing nor anyone else ever checks to see what Lucy's blood type might be, meaning that all of the men are donating blood to her which might not match her blood type. Stoker seems to be unconcerned with this small bit of scientific "smudging" in the novel.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
The transfusion is performed, and Lucy appears to be healthier for it. Seward and Van Helsing both notice the wound on Lucy's neck, which till then had been covered by a velvet band (Lucy appears to have been embarrassed by it, though she does not understand where it comes from)—Seward asks Van Helsing if he believes the wound has something to do with the illness, and Van Helsing says he must return to Amsterdam to consult some books, and see if there is a connection.
Again, Van Helsing senses that the wound on Lucy's neck could have a connection to the illness—in fact, he surely knows that Dracula is involved, at this point—but his reluctance to share his diagnosis with Seward seems, once more, to stem from a desire to prove, absolutely, that vampirism is the cause of Lucy's distress.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
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Before he leaves, Van Helsing asks Seward to look over Lucy all the night through, in case anything should "disturb" her. Seward does not understand what Van Helsing is saying, but he agrees to look after Lucy regardless.
Here, Van Helsing states for the first time that some person or entity, capable of "disrupting" Lucy in her sleep, might be to blame for the illness.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
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Seward's Diary. September 8. Seward does observe Lucy as she sleeps, but before she goes to bed, she tells Seward that she does not wish to sleep, as she is, of late, tormented by even more terrible dreams. Seward, however, tells her that he is there for her, and this seems to calm Lucy—she sleeps peacefully, and Seward wires to Arthur and Van Helsing to say that the transfusion appears to have worked well for the patient.
We do not learn the nature of Lucy's dreams here, but they probably involve a variation on her previous visions—of "red eyes," and a thin man, whom we know, at this point, to be Count Dracula himself. Van Helsing is pleased that the transfusion has worked in the short term, but he knows that the vampire must be addressed as the root cause of Lucy's problems.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
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Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Seward's Diary. September 9. Lucy, who says she is feeling much better, does not allow Seward to stay up all the night and watch over her. Seward consents to this new arrangement, as he is exhausted—he sleeps on a couch in an adjoining room, with the door open in case something befalls Lucy.
Seward's devotion to Lucy might be understand as a kind of displaced love for her—since he is not able to love her as a husband, he can care for her as a physician and as a friend.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
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Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Lucy's Diary. September 9. In her own diary, Lucy announces that she is feeling much better, that her love for Arthur is stronger than ever, and that she goes to sleep this night with pleasant thoughts for her future marriage.
The transfusion appears to have provided Lucy with a good deal of hope, even if it cannot cure her in the long term, as Van Helsing (but not Seward) knows at this point.
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Seward's Diary. September 10. Van Helsing wakes Seward the next morning—he has returned from Amsterdam. The two go in to check on Lucy, who has taken another turn for the worse—she is more pale than ever, though Van Helsing detects a pulse, and says that Lucy can survive with another blood transfusion. Van Helsing asks Seward, this time, to donate blood, which Seward does. The transfusion appears to be another success, and Lucy and Seward both rest afterward; Van Helsing tells Seward he may return home for the evening, and two servant-women of the Westenra house agree to look after Lucy in the night, while Van Helsing studies his medical books, for Lucy's case.
The first transfusion was Arthur's blood, since Van Helsing and Seward believed that the trading of blood was an intimate activity, ideally suited for affianced couples. Here, however, they must resort to Seward's blood, and the sexual suggestion in the scene is powerful. Throughout the novel, blood is seen as an intimate bodily fluid, one that is pumped by the heart and therefore representative of the "soul" and "power" of a person. For Seward to share this with Lucy, the circumstances must be dire indeed.
Themes
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Seward's Diary. September 11. When Seward returns the next day, Van Helsing has gathered a great deal of garlic flowers, a wreath of which he gives to Lucy to wear around her neck. Van Helsing also smears Lucy's bedroom with crushed garlic, and places other garlic flowers all over. Although Lucy, Seward, and others in the house are surprised by this, Van Helsing says that, finally, he himself can get a good night's sleep, and that the garlic will "protect" Lucy.
The garlic flowers, which were first encountered by Harker in Transylvania, reappear here in the context of Lucy's cure. Harker dismissed the flowers when he saw them in Transylvania, and the "rational" characters of London don't understand their purpose here. But it is noteworthy that the superstitions of Transylvania have now come to "civilized" London.
Themes
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