Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Seward's Diary. September 20. (continued). Seward takes command of preparations for Lucy's funeral, as Arthur's father has also recently passed away, and he must take care of that funeral himself. Van Helsing says he will watch the body overnight—Seward does not understand why Van Helsing is so concerned with watching Lucy after her death. The funeral directors say that Lucy makes a beautiful corpse, and indeed in death she looks more beautiful than in life.
One wonders whether Van Helsing is in the right in keeping, for so long, the details of Lucy's demise from Seward. It seems as if Van Helsing believes that the other characters wouldn't be able to believe what was happening unless they see it for themselves. That any explanation of the occult would be so far beyond their comprehension that they would simply dismiss it. The funeral director unknowingly notices Lucy's undeadness.
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
Van Helsing asks for surgical instruments from Seward for that night, since he wishes to cut off Lucy's head and cut out her heart. Seward is shocked and horrified to hear that Van Helsing wishes to desecrate Lucy's body. But Van Helsing asks Seward to trust him, saying he wishes to do this to Lucy's body for the same reason he presented Arthur from kissing Lucy one last time, on her deathbed—he has reason to believe that Lucy might be dangerous. Seward trusts Van Helsing but is greatly unnerved.
Here, finally, Van Helsing begins a slow explanation of what might have happened to Lucy, but he does so piecemeal, first by saying that Lucy's body will not be lying in repose, but must rather be "taken care of" through grisly means (the cutting off of the head, the stake through the heart). Seward, always the good student, goes along with Van Helsing after a long discussion.
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
Arthur returns to the house after his father's funeral, and cannot believe that Lucy is really dead—he and Seward remark that she looks like she might only be sleeping. Arthur is now called Lord Godalming, since he has taken over his father's name and title after his father's death. Van Helsing asks Arthur if he might have permission to read all Lucy's diary entries, letters, and other personal effects, to find out the cause of her illness, and Arthur agrees to this.
Arthur has had two people very close to him die, but because his father was a Lord, he now inherits that title. And just as Harker and Mina, on Hawkins' death, are now wealthy, so too is Arthur now possessed of an enormous fortune. Stoker appears fixated on the idea that his characters move up the social ladder, even as they are beset by other problems in the hunt for Dracula.
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
Mina's Journal. September 22. In London for Hawkins' funeral, Mina and Jonathan go for a walk after the solemn ceremony, and as they do, Jonathan stops suddenly and appears completely afraid. He tells Mina that he sees "the thin man," Dracula, walking around the streets of London. They walk quickly away, and Jonathan naps for a time and re-collects himself, though Mina worries for him, and for the spasm of fear it caused him to see someone resembling Dracula (as she does not believe it is really the Count).
It is not clear to Mina whether Harker is merely repeating one of the visions he had while "ill" in Transylvania, or whether Dracula is actually capable of walking around London. Interestingly, Harker himself dismisses this vision, soon after, as the product of a hysterical mind that has not fully gotten over whatever trauma happened to Harker while he was in Romania. He continues to reject the idea of the occult as impossible and therefore his experiences of it as hallucinations.
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
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Later that day, Mina receives a telegram from Van Helsing that Lucy and her mother have both died, and that the funeral occurred that day, the 22nd of September. Mina is shocked and greatly saddened by this news.
The reader might have forgotten, at this juncture, that Mina was not aware of the death of Lucy and her mother, and so this telegram informs Mina of the new reality.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Seward's Diary. September 22. Seward believes he is finishing his diary—he reports that he, Van Helsing, Morris, and Arthur all attended to Lucy as she was placed in a marble mausoleum in a cemetery near her house; after doing so, Arthur remarked that, by transfusing his blood into her veins, he felt that he and Lucy were truly married. None of the others in the group tell Arthur that they all, too, gave Lucy their blood.
Arthur makes explicit the link between the transfusing of blood and the joining of man and woman in holy union. This blood-link will be perverted, later on in the novel, when Dracula and Mina swap blood, as Harker sleeps unknowingly beside them. At that point, Stoker makes expressly clear the relation between vampirism, blood-sucking, and romantic coupling.
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
After the ceremony, Van Helsing and Seward take a cab together, and Van Helsing goes "into hysterics," as Seward describes it, alternating between crying and laughing about Lucy's death, and the way she appeared so serene after death. Seward says he does not understand why Van Helsing behaves in this way, but Van Helsing replies that he simply worries for Lucy after death—this appears to appease Seward, who drives off alone, after dropping off Van Helsing at his hotel. Seward vows that this is his final diary entry.
Van Helsing might be understood as an eccentric, not entirely in touch with his emotions as regards certain instances of "politeness," such as is called for now. In this sense, Seward is his complete foil, as Seward, here, appears concerned with propriety—how one ought to behave after the funeral of a friend. But Van Helsing also sees the dastardly work that a vampire has done, whereas Seward goes on thinking, still, that Lucy was merely sick.
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
From The Westminster Gazette. September 25. Another news clipping is included, this one from a London paper, which describes how, of late, a "dark woman" or "dark lady" in the neighborhood of Lucy's cemetery appears to be grabbing children, taking them off for a time, and returning the children with wounds in their neck. The reporter asks that anyone with information about this "dark lady" report it to the authorities.
More dramatic irony. It is hard to imagine that any reader would not make sense, immediately, of this article as relating to Lucy. One then realizes, at the end of the novel, that since this account along with the others was assembled by Mina, she, too, had a sense of the narrative "arc" of the struggle for Dracula as the events were unfolding.
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
In another short follow-up article, the report notes that another child has gone missing, and was then found some time later, very week, with another gash in his neck—many believe that the "dark lady" is again responsible, and that she must be found and brought to justice.
The reader might anticipate, here rightly, that the group's next effort will be to track down and eliminate the dark lady. And the reader might also sense that Van Helsing possesses the knowledge to do just this.
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