Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Seward's Diary. September 18. Seward arrives at Lucy's house that morning and finds he cannot get in—Van Helsing arrives just after, and the two realize the confusion with the telegrams has caused them both to leave Lucy unattended. They fear the worst and break into the house in the rear, via a window. They walk through the rooms of the house and find the four servants, still drugged and asleep or groggy on the floor. Then they head into Lucy's room.
Although the reader suspects, at this point, that something terrible has happened to Lucy, the reader does not know whether she is dead or severely weakened—this combination of surety (that Lucy is in trouble) and anxiety (the nature of her distress) is what makes the novel, and Stoker's description of Dracula in general, so persuasive and suspenseful.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
In Lucy's bedroom they find Lucy and her mother in bed—the latter stone-dead, and the former on the verge of death, having lost a great deal of blood. Van Helsing begins working in a fury to bring her back; he notices that the garlic garland has been placed around Lucy's mother's neck, and not Lucy's. Seward sends a telegram to notify Arthur to come, and they place Lucy in a warm bath, in an attempt to revive her heartbeat.
Again, the scientific and medical usefulness of the procedure here described—putting Lucy in a warm bath—might be debated. Even during Victorian times, medicine was fairly well advanced, and doctors were beginning to realize the root causes of many diseases. Nevertheless, some of Van Helsing's "treatments" might be considered old wives' tales today.
Themes
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
After the bath, Seward and Van Helsing consult as to what to do with Lucy. When they turn around, they find that Morris has arrived—Arthur had sent him a telegram asking him to check on Lucy's house, since Arthur had not heard from Lucy for several days. Morris agrees to transfuse blood to Lucy, and the operation appears, once again, to improve her condition. After the operation, Van Helsing shows Seward the memorandum Lucy wrote and left on her breast, which had fallen off when they moved her into the bathroom for her bath.
Morris is the fourth strong young man to provide Lucy with fresh blood—and again, his blood type is not checked, suggesting either that Lucy is a universal recipient (type AB), or that all the men of the group are universal donors. Or, more likely, Stoker was not aware of blood types, or was not convinced that it would interrupt his reader's experience of the story if the types were not included. Regardless, now another of the men who courted Lucy has shared sustaining blood with her, while Dracula assaults her and takes that blood.
Themes
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
Seward reads the memorandum but doesn't understand what it implies—Van Helsing says that, in due time, he will explain to Seward. Morris draws Seward aside and reminds Seward that Lucy has had the blood of "four strong men" in her veins, in large quantities, but that something appears to be taking that blood out again, at night. Seward wracks his brains to find an answer to this strange question, but cannot find one; nor can Morris.
Morris appears to understand, at this juncture in the novel, that Lucy is not taken by any typical or normal illness. Because the large amounts of blood that have been put into her veins must have gone somewhere, and since she is not normally anemic, someone must actually be taking the blood out of Lucy. Having the blood of "four strong men" in her veins again ascribes a kind of sexual intimacy to the transfusion.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
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
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Lucy finally wakes up after the transfusion, and seems to have survived, though she is in a greatly weakened condition. Before she woke back up, Van Helsing placed her memorandum back on her chest, to make it seem that the group did not know of her activities the night previous.
Van Helsing does not yet want Lucy to know that the rest of the group—Seward, himself, Morris, and Arthur—are aware of the terrible events involving Lucy's previous night, and her mother's demise.
Themes
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
Seward's Diary. September 19. Arthur arrives at Lucy's house and sees his fiancée in a severely weakened condition—although the transfusion helped, it seems that Lucy simply has lost too much blood to survive. Seward worries what will become of her, and continues speaking his journal entries into Lucy's phonograph, in the house.
It should be noted, here, that Seward's diary "entries" are really dictations. They appear quite fluid and well-written to be dictations, however—here is another instance where Stoker appears to suspend belief, unless Mina, in her later edits of Seward's journal, has "smoothed out" his prose.
Themes
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
Letter from Mina to Lucy. September 17. (unread). Mina writes a letter to Lucy, since she has not heard from Lucy for a long time. Mina and Harker have returned from Budapest to Exeter, in England, and have set up house with Hawkins, Harker's boss, who considers Harker to be his son, and who informs the pair that they shall be the sole inheritors of his estate after his death. Mina is happy in her letter, and asks about Arthur and Lucy's mother—Mina does not know what has befallen Lucy, of course, and Lucy does not see the letter to respond to it.
As Lucy's life continues in a downward spiral, Mina's, on the other hand, is only trending upward, and it seems that her and Harker's good luck cannot be stopped. Hawkins exists primarily in the novel as a means to provide for Harker (professionally) and Mina (as bequeather of an enormous amount of money to the two). For his part, Harker is said to love Hawkins like a father.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging 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
Report from Patrick Hennessey to Seward. September 20. An employee of the asylum, Hennessey reports to Seward in a brief letter than Renfield, taking air outside the asylum, recently saw men bringing large wooden boxes, filled with earth, into the Carfax estate bordering the asylum—Renfield seized the two men carrying the carts, believing they were stealing rather than delivering them, and nearly beat them to death before being placed, once again, a straitjacket. Hennessey was confused by the incident, and therefore notified Seward.
Renfield is aware of the power of the wooden boxes that are being placed in the Carfax estate. One wonders again if Renfield has total knowledge of vampiric custom because he has read up on the subject, or because he has somehow been communing with Dracula, perhaps by secret messages or by meetings at night. Or, as a third option, Renfield might, in his madness, sense the importance of the boxes without actually knowing what they are.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Letter from Mina to Lucy. September 18. (unread). In another brief unread letter, Mina informs Lucy that Hawkins has died, so that she and Harker are now very rich, and must travel to London to mourn Hawkins, where he is to be buried with his family. Mina says that she is trying to keep a cheerful face, though she knows Hawkins' death is a terrible blow for Jonathan.
Just after Hawkins has left his estate to Mina and Harker, he dies, thus meaning that Mina and Harker never again have to worry about money, and their social, as well as financial, position in London society is secure. Again, Mina and Harker seem to have a good deal of economic luck in the novel.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
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 20. Morris, Arthur, Van Helsing, and Seward surround Lucy on the last night of her life. In the morning of the 20th, at dawn, they notice that the marks on her neck have fully disappeared; but Van Helsing reports that Lucy is about to die, and Seward is greatly puzzled by this. Van Helsing brings Arthur in to see Lucy one last time.
The disappearance of the marks on Lucy's neck is a terrible sign, for Van Helsing, and later on, the reader will understand why. At this point, Lucy's body has been given over fully to its vampiric form, meaning Dracula no longer needs to draw blood from it, and Lucy is on her way to becoming undead herself.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
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
But as Arthur takes Lucy's hand, Van Helsing and Seward notice that Lucy's pallor has changed—she appears serene, and her gums are drawn back, showing pointy teeth. Lucy's eyes open wide, and she asks to kiss Arthur—Arthur nearly consents, but Van Helsing jumps between and forbids it. Arthur is shocked by Van Helsing's response.
Van Helsing has never been more forceful in his injunction, and Arthur and Seward are shocked, but of course the reader can guess what is happening—that Lucy is now in an undead state, and that, if Arthur were to kiss her, she might try to bite him and draw his blood.
Themes
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Then Lucy goes back into a gentle repose, and Seward and Van Helsing, the only two remaining in the room (Morris and Arthur, overcome, have gone outside), watch as she slips from life to death. Seward says that, now, at last, Lucy will have some rest, but Van Helsing ominously replies that this is not the end. Seward remains confused as to what Van Helsing is saying, but Van Helsing does not yet clarify what has killed Lucy, and what causes her, now in death, to look so composed, almost alive.
The characters, other than Van Helsing, begin to comment on how "lifelike" Lucy appears, once she has died. Of course, they will soon realize that Lucy has not truly died at all, and that, now, her body hovers between life and death in a condition of undeadness that is part of the condition of being a vampire. Soon the group will have to effect the "true death" of Lucy.
Themes
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