Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jonathan Harker's Journal, May 5. (continued). Harker wakes up as the carriage slows before the castle. He is not sure that he is fully awake—the strange driver helps him off the carriage, again with immense strength, and hurls down the bags Harker has brought with him. The strange driver then leaves Harker before the gates of the castle and disappears. Harker wonders at this treatment (since it would be customary for the driver to introduce Harker to the butler), and remarks to himself that he is a solicitor's clerk, in fact a solicitor, having just passed his exam. This is the first the reader learns of Harker's occupation, although his reasons for visiting the Count are still not clear.
The strange driver's strength is perhaps the first real indication that he is more than he seems—that, in other words, the strange driver might actually be Dracula himself, since Dracula, too, is known for his immense strength. Dracula's Castle does not follow the rules of protocol typical to a great house in England, for example—Harker is not formally "received" there, nor is his arrival announced. This is more evidence, for Harker, that perhaps the Castle Dracula is not a "normal" manor home.
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After waiting in front of the castle's door for some time, Harker hears a man approach: it is Dracula, who opens the door, bearing a lamp. Dracula is tall and wiry, with a white mustache, and though he speaks English well he does so with a strange intonation. Dracula asks Harker to enter "of his own free will" and explains that, since it is late, none of his servants are available to help Harker, thus Dracula will welcome him himself.
Dracula's manner, however, is formal to the point of strangeness. That he speaks English well but with an accent suggests that he can navigate both worlds, the Western and Eastern. It is notable that he asks Harker to enter "of his own free will," since it is later revealed by Van Helsing that Dracula himself can only enter a room or building if invited inside by the party he wishes to attack. Dracula appears to apply this same rule to his intended prey.
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Dracula carries Harker's heavy bags, without help, to Harker's room, and bids Harker to come down to dine in a few moments, after Harker has collected himself. Harker does so, and finds Dracula in the dining room with food set out for Harker, and with none for Dracula, who claims he has eaten already earlier that evening. Harker hands Dracula a note from a Mr. Hawkins, head solicitor of Harker's company, and the man whom Harker is representing at the castle.
Harker's purpose at the Castle is now revealed fully: he is the emissary of an English lawyer, Hawkins, who is working with Dracula to help Dracula purchase a property in England. Thus the basis for the novel, at least initially, is the most mundane and "middle-class" of English concerns—the efforts of a rich man to buy and secure property in his name.
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The letter says, succinctly, that Harker is Hawkins' representative, that Hawkins has had an attack of gout and cannot travel, and that the business deal between Dracula and Hawkins will be drawn up by Harker. This explains Harker's presence at the castle. After eating dinner and discussing his journey with Dracula, Harker begins to describe, for his journal, Dracula's appearance.
The similarity between Harker and Hawkins' names is not coincidental. Hawkins is never "seen" during the course of the novel—he is only described in absentia—and Harker and Mina wind up inheriting Hawkins' grand estate. Thus Harker essentially "becomes" the true son of the man whom he already considered his adoptive father and mentor.
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Dracula, according to Harker, has a long, thin nose, a protruding forehead, sharp teeth, red lips, and a totally pale complexion. Hair grows in circles on the palms of Dracula's hands, and Harker notices that Dracula has "rank" breath, with a smell he cannot trace. When wolves cry out in the night, Dracula rejoices at their sweet song, but seeing that Harker is afraid of them, Dracula says that Harker, a city-man, must learn to understand the beauties of the country. Harker retires to bed, somewhat unsettled by his first interview with Dracula.
Dracula shares many of the physical characteristics typically associated with demonic or devil-figures in European myth and legend. Devils tend to have long faces, pointing chins and noses, dark or red eyes, and pale complexions framed by a shadowing darkness (perhaps dark hair, or dark clothing). Dracula's rank breath suggests this his insides are somehow corrupt, which they are, given that he is undead and drinks blood. Again Dracula is connected to wolves (which Harker fears) and suggests that Harker's city background is somehow at odds with the more rugged country.
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May 7. Harker writes that he woke very late the next day—having arrived close to, but before, dawn—and ate a cold breakfast, laid out for him in the dining room. In that room Harker finds a note, left by Dracula, saying that Dracula must be gone on business during the day. Harker notices that there are no mirrors in any of the castle's rooms he has seen. After eating, Harker walks into a library adjacent the dining room, where he finds a collection of English books and newspapers. After Harker browses for some time, Dracula walks into the room and joins him, telling Harker that he (Dracula) has learned English through careful study of the newspapers, magazines, and other literary output of that country.
The lack of mirrors is another aspect of the Dracula superstition that Stoker builds up in the novel—that vampires have no reflections. Dracula's self-taught English and vast library and knowledge about England seems to indicate that he has a deep interest in the country and that he plans not just to buy property there but to go there. Harker has come from England to Transylvania without really learning about or understanding the place. Dracula has no intention of doing the same when he goes to England.
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Harker compliments Dracula on his command of English, but Dracula says there is always room to improve it. Dracula tells Harker that he may go into any unlocked room in the castle, but may not try to go into shut-off or locked rooms—this, Dracula explains, is for Harker's protection, since the "ways of Transylvania" are different from those of Harker's native England.
Like Pandora's Box, Dracula's Castle is filled with spaces which cannot be opened by mortal man. Of course, when one is given an injunction not to look at something, it becomes nearly impossible not to look. Perhaps Dracula is aware of this, and hopes to entice Harker into visiting some of these "other rooms."
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Dracula and Harker have a conversation, wherein Harker asks about the ritual of the blue flames and the stones, which Harker observed the strange driver performing on the roadside the previous night. Dracula says that, according to peasant superstition, these blue flames, on the eve of St. George's Day, signify places where treasure has been buried. Harker takes this at face value, and presumes also that Dracula does not believe in these superstitions himself.
This is the last the blue flames are mentioned in the novel. Here, Harker cannot tell whether Dracula is merely recounting the superstitions of the Transylvanian peasants, or if he, too, believes that treasure might actually be found along the roadside. Dracula appears generally to cultivate a "modern," European air, and attempts to distinguish himself from the "backward" superstitions of his fellow Transylvanians—of course, he is the subject of a lot of those superstitions.
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Dracula then asks Harker about the nature of their business transaction—which turns out to be a house in London, in the neighborhood of Purfleet, purchased by Dracula and brokered by the Hawkins firm for which Harker works. Dracula asks that Harker go over the deeds to the house, and other documents, with him, in case Dracula has questions once in England. Harker agrees and discusses this business with the Count.
Dracula's home in Purfleet has been purchased because of the house's certain specifications, which will only be revealed when Seward, Harker, and Van Helsing break into the home and find its large crypt, similar to the one Dracula has at his castle in Transylvania. This is not made clear, however, until Harker's return to England.
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Harker references his notes, on Dracula's urging, and describes how he found the Purfleet estate, called Carfax. Harker explains that the house is old, large, and dilapidated, and that it abuts the property of an insane asylum. Dracula is relieved that the house is old, since he himself is accustomed to living in very old houses, as his castle indicates; Dracula says also that he loves "shade and shadow." When Dracula leaves the room, Harker notices a map with three spots circled: one in Purfleet (Carfax); one in Exeter (where Harker's office is located); and one in Whitby, on the northeast coast of England.
As Van Helsing will later explain, Dracula's plans are methodical and easy to parse, once the group understands his desires and needs as a vampire. Van Helsing attributes this careful and obvious planning to Dracula's "child-brain," which has been left to molder during the hundreds of years Dracula has slept in his crypt and fed off the blood of his countrymen. In other words, Dracula appears learned, but is in fact something of a child, when hunted. This makes destroying Dracula a possible, if not an easy, task.
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Harker continues working, and Dracula returns, later, to tell him that a late dinner is served. Again, Harker eats and Dracula does not, and they talk of various subjects (unreported by Harker) into the night. Dracula excuses himself quickly, just before dawn, and Harker goes to sleep soon after, exhausted from the day—though not before writing down the day's events in his journal.
It is not clear if, at this point, Harker has begun to sense that Dracula cannot be active during the daytime. But Harker does notice that Dracula is a bizarre master, that his castle seems mostly empty, and that whatever forces Dracula to go to bed before dawn is powerful—a rule Dracula cannot break.
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May 8. Harker begins this next entry by saying that he fears he and Dracula are the only two people in the castle, and that his "night-existence" with Dracula (both have been sleeping through the daylight hours) has been wearing on his nerves. Harker narrates one bizarre incident. Harker is shaving in the pre-dawn hours, the day after discussing the Purfleet plans with the Count, and though he feels Dracula's hand on his shoulder, and hears his greeting, Harker does not see Dracula's reflection in the shaving-mirror. This startles Harker greatly.
Importantly, Harker has difficulty separating his anxiety about Dracula from his natural discomfort from a change in sleep-patterns, as Harker, in order to converse with Dracula, has begun to live almost a nocturnal schedule. This section also introduces one of Dracula's most notable features, one often repeated in contemporary culture—the fact that he has no reflection in a mirror, unlike ordinary men.
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Then, just as Harker turns to greet Dracula himself, he realizes he has cut himself on the chin, while shaving; blood is trickling down his chin. Dracula sees the blood and, in a frenzy, immediately grips at Harker's throat, but just after doing so, Dracula sees the crucifix Harker is wearing, and backs away quickly, totally changed back to his normal, placid manner. Harker is mystified by this.
The first indication that Dracula goes crazy at the thought, or sight, of blood. What is perhaps a bit surprising is the nonchalance with which Harker treats this event in his journal—clearly, Dracula has attempted to drink his blood, but Harker has such a difficult time believing that Dracula could, in fact, have any interest in drinking someone's blood that he can't comprehend what has just happened.
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Dracula tells Harker to be careful how he cuts himself—that it can be "dangerous" in Transylvania to show one's blood. Dracula also throws the shaving-mirror (which Harker brought with him) out the window, calling it a "bauble of vanity." During the day, again, Harker walks around the house alone, for Dracula is "away," and realizes that all the doors to the outside have been locked—only some high windows, difficult to reach, would provide means for escape. Harker laments, in his journal, that the castle is a prison, and Harker is Dracula's only prison within its walls.
One of the first, and most significant, instances of "imprisonment" or confinement in the novel. Harker has always been Dracula's prisoner, since arriving in the Borgo Pass, but it is a testament to Dracula's cunning, at least at this point in the novel, that Harker does not realize he is a prisoner until several days have passed. Perhaps, too, Harker is so willing and eager to be a good emissary for Hawkins, that Harker is unable to accept just how bizarre his interactions with the Count have been.
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