Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jonathan Harker's Journal. October 3. Harker records the preparations made at stalking and killing Count Dracula. He notes, also, that Seward and Van Helsing have told a "white lie" about Renfield's death, calling it an accident from falling out of bed, in order to avoid police attention generally regarding Dracula's movements in London. The group decides not to conceal its further activities from Mina, however, as she has now been roped into the group's actions through her terrible night with Dracula.
Once again, the group decides not to call in the police, figuring that, at this point, if they can manage to avoid police scrutiny a little longer, they might be able to find all the boxes and catch Dracula without having to involve the authorities at all. This is only possible, of course, since the group has the monetary means to track Dracula themselves.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
When Van Helsing, Seward, and Harker speak to Mina, she says that, if she believes her living would cause the group harm (by luring Dracula to them, for example), she would rather kill herself than cause others to be hurt. Van Helsing, however, tells Mina that, if she kills herself, she will become an Un-Dead, a vampire, and would thus be even more dangerous. Mina vows instead to strive for life, and not to kill herself.
Mina believes, at this point, that it would be better to end her own life than to cause pain to those she loves. She is even willing to violate the Christian teaching against suicide in order to so. However, Van Helsing luckily informs her that to kill herself would be to give in to the demon possessing her, rather than to save anyone in the group from harm.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
The group decides on a plan. They will first attempt to eliminate as many of the wooden boxes as possible, those in the Carfax house and those in the newer Piccadilly house, because, as Van Helsing says, these boxes, filled with earth from Dracula's native land, allow him to "recharge" and to fully deploy his powers. Without the boxes, Dracula is greatly reduced in strength—he cannot, for example, turn into a mist and slip into cracks in doorways and walls.
No one in the group, including Van Helsing, seems to understand the exact mechanism by which Dracula "sleeps" and "reenergizes" inside the wooden boxes. But the group-members accept at this point that the boxes are the key to Dracula's survival while in England.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
As the men of the group are discussing this plan, Van Helsing attempts to bless Mina by taking a piece of the holy host and crossing her with it, then touching it to her forehead. Van Helsing does so and appears to "burn" Mina on her forehead. Mina looks at herself in the mirror and discovers a red scar there—a mark, she believes, of her "pollution" by having drunk Dracula's blood. Mina is horrified, but the men of the group bend on their knees and pledge to protect Mina, to vanquish Dracula, and to remove this blotch from upon Mina's forehead. Then the group splits—Morris and Arthur to Piccadilly, and the rest (minus Mina) to Carfax, to sterilize the earth of the wooden boxes.
A very important scene in the novel, one that serves to motivate the remainder of its action. Not only has Dracula "taken" Lucy away and forced the group to stab her through the heart—Dracula has now managed to "mark" Mina with a sign that Mina is now in communion with dark voices. In this, Mina's honor has been touched, and the group not only wants to rid the world of Dracula—it is an assemblage of gentlemen who now wish, also, to restore Mina's lost honor. (Once again these events mirror the fact that a sexually assaulted Victorian women would also be seen as having lost her honor despite the honor not being her fault).
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
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The process of sterilization is rather simple: the members of the group break off a piece of the holy host and put it in the earth, after screwing off the lids of the boxes. In a short time, Van Helsing, Seward, and Harker have sterilized all 29 boxes at Carfax, and they head to Piccadilly to meet with Morris and Arthur. Twenty-one boxes remain.
The sterilization process is finally detailed, and it involves, perhaps predictably, merely the introduction of the holy host, a task that takes only a short period of time. Far more difficult will be finding the remainder of the boxes.
Themes
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. Piccadilly. 12:30 p.m. Van Helsing, Seward, and Harker look on as Arthur and Morris convince a locksmith to open up the house (as before, Arthur pretends that he has an interest in purchasing the property from Dracula, its absentee owner). The five then enter the house and find, in its basement, a musky smell similar to the Carfax estate; they sterilize eight boxes they find here. Morris and Arthur also find deeds to two other properties owned by Dracula in different parts of London, and leave to sterilize these remaining boxes. Van Helsing, Harker, and Seward decide to wait for the other two to complete their sterilizations before proceeding with their plan for trapping the count.
One begins to realize, at this point in Stoker's account, that the programmatic search for Dracula is more or less a foregone conclusion: Dracula will be found, as will all the boxes. The novel is now less an exercise in "how and who-dunnit" and more an exercise in the symbolic restoration of Mina's honor. There is also the large question of which of the group-members will survive this difficult task of finding Dracula and truly killing him, thus releasing his soul. That question provides most of the remaining suspense in the novel.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon