Dracula

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Dracula Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Seward's Diary. September 29. (continued). Van Helsing returns to his hotel, with Seward, and finds a telegram from Mina saying that Jonathan is in Whitby, and that she (Mina) will be taking the train to London to meet with Van Helsing and Seward immediately. Van Helsing gives Seward Mina's and Jonathan's diaries to read, to learn more about their histories with Dracula and with Lucy's sleepwalking. Seward meets Mina at the train station and brings her to speak with Van Helsing and the remainder of the group.
Finally, Mina and Harker might be drawn into the group, so that the full complement of the novel's main characters—those who have survived—might be brought together in the fight against Dracula. After Lucy's true killing in the cemetery, the novel moves into its third and final stage—the hunt for, and eventual true killing of, the Count himself.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Mina's Journal. September 29. Mina talks first with Seward in his study, where she sees his phonograph machine, on which he dictates his diary. Mina says that she would like to type up a transcript of Seward's diary and add it to the typed transcripts she has of her own letters with Lucy, and her diary and Jonathan's. Seward readily agrees to this, and Mina begins her work.
Mina starts, at this point, actually ‘writing' the text that the reader is reading, the novel written actually by Bram Stoker. This is a device often associate with Modernist or even Postmodern novels, but Stoker is writing at the tail end of the Victorian period that preceded Modernism.
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 29. Seward sees Mina later that day, as she comes down for supper in his house. She appears distressed, and Seward worries that his diary has caused great sadness in her—but Mina says that, though the work can be unpleasant, it is important that they have a complete record of all that has gone on related to the Count and his powers—and that all the rest in the group should read it, such that they are convinced of Dracula's evil and better prepared to fight him. Seward agrees with this, too, and finds Mina, once again, to be an intelligent and courageous addition to the group.
More interesting still, Mina insists that other members of the group be asked to "read" her accounts as she produces them, meaning that, at this point in the novel, all the other major characters are engaged in the reading of the novel itself, in order to come to terms with the nature of Dracula's evil and what he might do to them as they hunt him. Here, then, the characters become readers of their own story, in an amazing and intriguing "meta-moment" that Stoker inserts into the novel.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Mina's Journal. September 29. Mina continues assembling the typed transcript of all Dracula-related materials—in effect "writing the book" which the reader is now reading. She swoons a bit, out of sadness and fear, in reading about Lucy's "first" and "true" deaths, but Seward comes in to give her brandy, which clears her mind. Mina continues with her work.
One might imagine how difficult it would be for Mina to transcribe, in great detail, the mutilation of her friend. But Mina is a hearty individual, perhaps the most hearty of any person in the group save for Van Helsing, and she recognizes that she has a job to do in transcribing the accounts.
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
Get the entire Dracula LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dracula.pdf.medium
Seward's Diary. September 30. Seward meets Harker and immediately finds him "uncommonly clever." Later, Seward visits with Renfield, whom he finds to be incredibly "sane"-seeming—this, too, puzzles Seward, who expected Renfield to rave about "life forces," as he had done previously. Seward has learned, from reading Harker's and Mina's letters and journals, that the Count lives next door to the insane asylum—Seward now believes that Renfield's madness is linked to the presence or absence of the Count.
Seward finally makes the connection between Renfield and the close proximity of Carfax, which Seward now knows is home to Dracula. Of course the reader might find it to be an enormous coincidence that Dracula's home in England is next to Seward's asylum, but both the asylum and Carfax are old houses, and Dracula has expressed a love of old buildings of a particular style.
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
Jonathan Harker's Journal. September 29. On train to London. Harker, on his way back from Whitby, writes in his journal that, on his visit to the Whitby port, he met with Billington, who manages the Count's import and export in England—Billington reports, to Harker, that a delivery of fifty wooden boxes, filled with earth, was made to Whitby from Varna, near Romania. Harker resolves, to himself, to find out where these fifty wooden boxes are to be sent, since he fears they are somehow involved in Dracula's infernal business.
Harker now senses the true importance of the wooden boxes, and realizes he must do all he can to track them down and neutralize them, to keep Dracula from using them as a hiding place and a place to restore his powers. The remainder of the novel will consist of two simple tasks—rounding up the 50 boxes, and finding and destroying Dracula himself.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Jonathan Harker's Journal. September 30. Harker, in London, speaks with the office managing transport of the wooden boxes from Whitby to the estate Carfax, in London. Harker is convinced that the fifty boxes have been delivered to the chapel basement of Carfax—a man who moved them reported, as did the dockworkers in Whitby earlier, that the boxes were immensely heavy and filled with earth.
Harker has experience with the boxes being located in a basement, as he is the only member of the group to have seen them in Dracula's Castle, and to have seen Dracula himself "sleeping" inside the earth of the one of the wooden boxes.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Mina's Journal. September 30. Mina, Van Helsing, Arthur, and Morris meet in London, along with Seward and Harker, at Seward's office in the asylum. Morris and Art express appreciation, gratitude, and a good deal more understanding about the vampire "problem" after having read the typed-up account of all the documents, assembled by Mina.
Morris and Arthur are now fully initiated into the vampire problem. Morris seems to believe most of what he reads, so long as he trusts the men who propound the theory, and Arthur, for his part, is so willing to do his Christian duty that he will act in accord with his conscience and to defend the honor of those he loves.
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
Later, Mina and Arthur sit together in the office, while the others are out of the room—Arthur begins to weep about Lucy's death, since he knows Lucy and Mina were close friends; Mina, somewhat surprised by the power of Arthur's outburst, nevertheless comforts him, and the two promise to be good friends, and to help in the defeat of the Count.
But Arthur, unlike Morris, cannot hide his true feeling of sadness and fear, and Arthur chooses to confide in Mina, who seems, on the one hand, happy that he has done so, and on the other, a bit surprised by the effusiveness with which he cries. In other words, she seems to see his emotion as a bit unmanly.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon