Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Seward's Diary. October 29. Seward writes from the train to Galatz, from Varna—the group is preparing to find Dracula, on calls on Mina, again hypnotized by Van Helsing, to give information as to Dracula's location. She says only that she feels Dracula is on land, and that there are wolves near him.
Once again, the wolves symbolize not only Dracula's presence but his desire to do some harm, as they have throughout the rest of the novel.
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Seward's Diary. October 30. 7 a.m. Van Helsing again hypnotizes Mina, who, in a trance, says that Dracula is still on land, and that she can hear cattle in the distance. Mina wakes up and asks what she was saying in her trance, indicating that she truly is being hypnotized, and that Dracula appears to have set up a "direct link" to her consciousness, of which Mina is not otherwise aware.
Dracula's turn back to land means the final sequence in the novel can begin—the hunt for Dracula toward the Castle that bears his name. This Castle does seem to be an important location in the novel—the point where Dracula is discovered by Harker and the reader—and the point where he is to be truly killed.
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Mina's Journal. October 30. Mina notes, briefly, that the men have the group have gone off to determine where exactly the Count's ship has landed at Galatz.
Another brief logistical section, in the lead-up to the final showdown.
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Jonathan Harker's Journal. October 30. Harker, Van Helsing, and Seward speak with some English customs workers working near Galatz, who have heard stories about the Count's ship as it approached harbor in the central Europe—the workers say that the Romanians on board the ship were "frightened" of something the ship was carrying, but would not identify what it is. Harker, Van Helsing, and Seward determine that they must intercept the final wooden box, wherever it is, and then hope that Dracula is near it.
These workers, like the sailors on the ship Demeter, have heard terrible stories about Dracula, and about the cargo aboard the ship that landed at Galatz. Again, sailors and dockworkers have tended, in the novel, to be some of the more superstitious characters, perhaps because their work involves interaction with people from different lands and, therefore, the stories and legends of many different cultures.
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Mina's Journal. October 30. Evening. Mina, in her journal, works out a plan for where Dracula and the box must be. She determines that it would be easiest for Dracula, and the most secretive, for him to transport himself and the final box over water (probably a river) to his castle. Mina determines that it could be either the Sereth or the Pruth rivers, nearby, based on their ease of navigation and proximity to the castle.
Mina, despite her ailment, is nevertheless able to marshal her considerable powers of thought to find Dracula on one of two rivers approaching his castle. This makes the task of hunting Dracula down significantly easier, if still a challenge for the men of the group.
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Mina's Journal. October 30. (continued). Mina tells what she has conjectured about Dracula's path to the castle to Van Helsing, who believes it is a sound hypothesis. He vows to stay back with Mina while Harker, Seward, Morris, and Arthur go off to find Dracula. Mina marvels at the bravery of her husband and the others, and Harker hopes that Van Helsing and Mina will be safe together in Galatz.
One gets the sense that Mina's trials, and Harker's efforts, have brought the couple closer together. This, in distinction to Arthur and Lucy, who from the beginning were separated both by Lucy's illness and by Arthur's father's illness, which required Arthur to be away for long periods of time.
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Jonathan Harker's Journal. October 30. Night. Arthur, Morris, and Harker take a launch, a small boat, up the Sereth river to the castle to find Dracula. Harker notes in his journal that he is nervous about approaching this "infernal" region again. Seward is on his own way by horseback to the castle, and Van Helsing and Mina will take a carriage over land to the castle.
One can only imagine the stress involved, for Harker, in going back to the scene of so much of his torment, before he knew anything about Dracula or the nature of his vampirism. Harker returns, in effect, to wrestle with some of his own demons.
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Jonathan Harker's Journal. October 31. The group in the launch continues up the river in their small boat, huddling together to keep warm, and praying to God for their safety in confronting the Count.
The final journey to the Castle takes place over land and by sea, depending on which part of the group is traveling.
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Jonathan Harker's Journal. November 1. Evening. As the group's launch continues up the river, they pass by some Slovaks, who say they saw a larger boat heading up the river ahead of them—Harker believes that the Count is on this other boat.
Mina was correct—and the river she chose, the Sereth, was the river on which both Dracula and Harker traveled. The final showdown with Dracula is approaching.
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Jonathan Harker's Journal. November 2. Morning. Harker wonders about Van Helsing and Mina, who by this time have ordered a carriage and horses and have headed to the Castle Dracula by land, to meet up with the rest of the group. Harker estimates that Van Helsing and Mina should now be about to enter the Borgo Pass, through which Harker traveled that previous spring.
The Borgo Pass is another traumatic scene for Harker, and it can be described as the threshold between Dracula's castle and the normally settled lands beyond it. The pass, then, is a kind of point of no return. For Harker, the idea of going through the pass reminds him of his own previous journey, and he is in a sense returning to that same battle. His concerns about Mina highlight their love and domestic happiness, all of which are threatened by Dracula.
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Seward's Diary. November 2. Seward writes that he is cheered to be traveling on horseback, and that he hopes Harker, Morris, and Arthur, in their launch, are proceeding easily up the river to the castle.
All members of the group, including Seward, appear somewhat relieved to have a set series of tasks to do in order to find Dracula. Seward relishes this part of the search.
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Seward's Diary. November 3. Seward worries, at a break in his journey, whether the snow on the river will hamper Harker's, Morris's, and Arthur's travels.
Seward also guesses, correctly, that the other members of the group, traveling on the river, will meet with delays because of the terrible winter-like weather.
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Seward's Diary. November 4. Seward has heard through fellow travelers along the horse-path near the river that the launch is still progressing up the river, but that blocks of ice have impeded its progress and slowed it down on its way to the castle.
It is not clear whether Seward speaks some Romanian, or whether this language is translated to him. It could also simply be an omission on Stoker's part, that Seward in fact could not understand the language of the Romanian locals.
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Mina's Journal. October 31. Mina notes that Van Helsing has procured a carriage and horses, and that she and the Professor are starting off on their way over land, through the Borgo Pass, and off to Dracula's castle. Mina says that she worries for Harker's sake, as he is on the river, following close to the trail of the wooden box and the Count, and she hopes that Harker remains safe.
Again, the group's significant resources are very useful here, as they might be used to gain means of transportation to the castle. It is hard to imagine how this part of the search, in particular, would be possible without a significant cash outlay on the part of the group. Again, Stoker emphasizes the love between Mina and Harker, this time from Mina's point of view.
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Mina's Journal. November 1. Mina reports that she and Van Helsing are making good time toward the castle over land.
The final showdown is approaching from the perspective of each group member.
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Mina's Journal. November 2. Mina remarks that she has taken over some of the driving of the carriage, from Van Helsing, who has been growing tired. The carriage nears the Borgo Pass. Van Helsing quickly hypnotizes Mina, during a break in their trip, and she responds in her trance that the Count and his box are still on the river and heading toward the castle. Mina worries for Harker's safety—as he, Arthur, and Morris are still on the river, too.
Mina can still be hypnotized, but as will be reported later, she becomes less and less willing to go into this trance as she approaches the Castle, perhaps because that is the ancestral seat of Dracula's power, and his hold over that region is strong—thus Dracula can more effectively control Mina's mind in this area.
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Mina also writes, in her journal, that she feels her scar on her forehead and knows that she is still "marked" by the Count—she hopes that, once the Count is destroyed, she can be made clean once again.
A reminder of the group's other major purpose—to make sure that Mina is once again "clean" of soul.
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Memoranda of Van Helsing. November 4. Van Helsing begins a series of memoranda for Seward, in case something happens to him and to Mina en route to the castle. Van Helsing attempts, at several times during their journey, to continue his hypnotism of Mina, but the hypnosis no longer workers. Van Helsing fears that Mina is now more under Dracula's control, or that, perhaps, the proximity of the castle has increased his strength over her.
Van Helsing is very quick to understand the power of the Castle in disrupting his hypnotisms of Mina. Van Helsing knows, now, that the group must be very close to finding, and hopefully to destroying, the Count.
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Memoranda of Van Helsing. November 5. Morning. As they continue through the Borgo Passs, Van Helsing stops for the night and tries to get Mina to eat, but she appears paler than ever, more desirous of sleep during the day, and she won't be hypnotized any longer. Van Helsing surrounds the two of them, while stopped by the roadside, with crushed holy host, a "holy circle" which he believes will protect them both from Dracula.
This "holy circle" is a new development, a new tactic against evil spirits, but one that builds, too, off the tactics Van Helsing has already used to keep vampires and the undead in their place, or far away from a protected zone. This holy circle will be of great use to Van Helsing and Mina in the remainder of the novel.
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During the night, the three sisters who tried earlier to seduce Harker appear around Van Helsing and Mina, outside the holy circle, and attempt to get Mina to leave and "go with them." But Van Helsing tells the three women to be gone, and the holy circle protects them from these evil spirits. The women disappear. Mina falls asleep and Van Helsing believes that, for the moment, they are safe.
The return of the Three Sisters, who, now, no longer lust after Harker but appear to sense that Mina is close to becoming undead. The Three Sisters hope to speed Mina along in that effort, which again correlates to the Victorian fear that sexual liberation among women was somehow contagious and uncontrollable if left loose, and must be rigidly constrained (just as Mina is constrained by the "holy circle").
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Jonathan Harker's Journal. November 4. Harker notes that the launch has been delayed by the ice-floes on the river, and that he, Arthur, and Morris are now en route to the castle on horseback.
Seward was correct, and Harker and the crew are behind schedule on the river, on account of terrible weather. This means Dracula, however, is probably also behind schedule.
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Seward's Diary. November 5. Seward has met up with the men of the launch, and the four proceed on horseback to the castle. On their ride, they hear the sound of wolves howling, and wonder whether they will make it out of this region alive.
The wolves indicate Dracula's power in this wild region, a place where all the men from the city are unfamiliar and in danger.
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Memoranda of Van Helsing. November 5. Afternoon. Van Helsing leaves Mina in the holy circle, asleep, and proceeds to the castle, which is now within short hiking distance. In the castle graveyard, he finds the tombs of the three sisters of Dracula, and using all his strength, opens them, drives stakes into the sisters' hearts, and cuts off their heads. The sisters writhe as their souls are released, but Van Helsing knows he has freed them and eliminated their ghosts from the castle.
In this somewhat anticlimactic and quick scene, Van Helsing takes care of the Three Sisters once and for all. In doing so, he eliminates a source of temptation for Mina, and his thoughts remind the reader that in killing the vampires he is in fact freeing them. That in killing them he is saving them.
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Van Helsing coats the entryways to the castle with his mixture of garlic and host, in order to keep Dracula from being able to re-enter there. He then returns to Mina, who looks even paler and more ill, and drags her along to meet up with the other four, near the castle.
Van Helsing continues to use his knowledge of the occult and religion against the vampires. But Mina's descent into vampire-hood is nearly complete.
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Mina's Journal. November 6. Mina and Van Helsing arrive at the dirt path on the way to the castle, and lie in wait for Dracula and his cart, bearing the wooden chest. As snow begins to fall, and the weather grows extremely cold, Mina and Van Helsing spy the chest coming up the trail near them, in a wooden wagon dragged by horses and piloted by gypsies from the area. Van Helsing and Mina believe that Dracula is "sleeping" in the wooden box. Van Helsing and Mina hide and maintain a lookout for the other four of the group.
The final confrontation begins. As might have been supposed, Dracula is entombed in his final box, which means that, if this box is opened and Dracula is stabbed, he will be truly dead—no other preparations will be necessary. Van Helsing and Mina, like the reader, have a front-row seat onto this final bit of action in the novel.
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Van Helsing and Mina spot Harker, Morris, Seward, and Arthur surrounding the cart and ordering the gypsies to stop. Morris and Harker then use their strength to pry open the box, and in doing so, Morris stabs Dracula in the heart, and Harker cuts off his head in an instant. Harker has been wounded slightly in the side by one of the gypsy's knives, and Morris appears also to have been wounded more gravely. Dracula crumbles to dust in the wooden box, finally killed, and the gypsies, terrified, run away from the cart.
The men work together—using their strength and the occult knowledge about vampires they have learned from Van Helsing to kill Dracula. Dracula is truly killed, and there is a palpable sense of relief among the members of the group, except for Morris. From the beginning, Morris has been the most gung-ho of the group members, and it appears, here, that his energy in fighting Dracula has taken him too far—he didn't see the gypsy who attacked him, and his wounds are very serious.
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The castle Dracula glows red against the evening sky—they have managed to free Dracula's body before the sun sets. Mina notes that there was a look of total peace in Dracula's face just before he crumbled to dust—this means he really was set free.
A wonderful, brief scene, in which Mina notices that even Dracula himself appears happy to know that his soul has been freed to heaven, away from the putrid decay of his blood-desiring, undead body.
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The holy circle, which Van Helsing had drawn around Mina and himself again, while aweaiting Dracula, no longer is necessary to protect them. They run to the wagon to see Harker, Seward, Morris, and Arthur. Harker appears only slightly wounded, but Morris, who has been gashed in the side, is bleeding profusely and about to die.
Harker survives, and he and Mina maintain their family unit, but Morris is unable to survive his wound, and his death near the castle Dracula forms a final, tragic scene at the novel's end.
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Morris announces that it was an honor to work with them all to defeat Dracula, and as he dies, he points to Mina's forehead with a look of joy and with praise to God—the scar has been removed, and her forehead now is pure white. Mina is freed from Dracula's power, and Morris dies on the roadway, surrounded by Harker, Mina, Van Helsing, Seward, and Arthur.
But Morris also recognizes that the stain has been removed from Mina's forehead, and this seems like happiness enough for him—he knows that the group has done its job, not only in finding and truly killing the Count, but in removing the terrible stain from Mina's honor. Morris—an Englishman's stereotype of a Texan through and through—dies contented in this chivalrous knowledge.
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