Dracula

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Dracula Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Letter, Mina Harker to Lucy. August 24. Mina tells Lucy that Jonathan is in poor but stable condition in Budapest, that he does not seem to remember very much of his time at Castle Dracula, and that Mina is afraid to ask Jonathan too many questions, lest she dredge up these terrible memories and visions of demons.
Now Mina is, once again, in the caretaker role, and Harker, who is devoted to his now-wife, wishes to do everything he can to "get better" and return to normal English society—even if that means ignoring the terrible visions he had while at the Castle. In other words, he tries to repress his visions of the occult—to treat them as hallucinations rather than real.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Jonathan, on waking up, gives Mina his journal from the castle, and asks her to keep the journal from him—Harker does not wish to re-read it, nor does he wish to know whether his visions at the castle were real or dreams. Harker tells Mina she is permitted to read the journal, if she promises never to share its contents with Harker. Harker also asks that the two be married there, in Budapest, and Mina eagerly agrees.
Harker believes, now, that his journal is explicitly a document of madness, and that to trust the journal as an accurate account of his time with Dracula would be madness as well. But Mina, of course, learns eventually that this is not the case, and that the journal of Harker's is a very useful document in the search for Dracula.
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Mina closes her letter to Lucy by briefly describing the wedding ceremony, which is a bit solemn (taking place at Harker's bedside), but still, in Mina's words, quite romantic and lovely. Harker promises lifelong devotion to Mina, and she promises him the same. Mina ends her letter to Lucy by wishing Lucy all the happiness that she (Mina) now possesses.
Mina is perhaps right in having Harker marry her right away—Lucy, who waits to marry Arthur until after Arthur's father is taken care of or passes away, dies unwed, whereas Mina may rely upon her husband, and he upon her, in a socially-recognized union.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Letter from Lucy to Mina. August 30. Lucy writes a brief letter back to Mina, saying that she (Lucy) is feeling better, and that Arthur has come from London to visit her. Lucy wishes Mina all happiness and good cheer on her recent wedding.
Lucy seems to think, at this point, that her own wedding will take place soon, and that she will soon be joining Mina in the realm of married bliss, with Arthur at her side.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
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Seward's Diary. August 20. Seward notes that Renfield has assumed a pattern to his strange behavior—during the day he has paroxysms of rage and oddness, but during the night he is calm, even normal-seeming. Seward resolves to leave a door open to allow Renfield to leave the asylum at night—Seward wishes to track where Renfield goes.
Here Renfield appears to invert the typical pattern of the vampire. While Dracula operates at night and must "sleep" during the day (more like recharge in his wooden box), Renfield, on the other hand, finds normal human calm only at night.
Themes
Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Seward's Diary. August 23. This night, Seward writes, Renfield escapes again to the nearby house, Carfax, and travels all the way to the "old chapel" door in the rear of the house—but just as Seward and the hospital orderlies catch Renfield, he looks upward, and they all spot a large bat flying ominously above. At this, Renfield becomes calm, and says he will go quietly back to the asylum. Seward is puzzled.
Renfield appears to recognize the form Dracula can take—the bat. Seward, again, persists in a condition of not-knowing, thus prompting a good deal of dramatic irony on the part of the reader, who has, at this point, deduced that Renfield is a disciple of Dracula's.
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
Lucy's Diary. August 24. Lucy begins keeping a diary, and reports that she has left her summer lodgings in Whitby, with her mother, and returned to their home outside London. Lucy says that Arthur is worried, when he sees Lucy—Lucy appears, once again, to be relapsing into weakness and illness, with no known cause.
Lucy is simply losing too much blood to continue to maintain her weight, health, and healthy appearance. Yet all of the characters think that the cause must be some illness—there must be a natural, as opposed to supernatural, explanation for what is happening.
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
Lucy's Diary. August 25. Lucy reports, briefly, that she has terrible sleep and awful dreams, which she does not remember except for their terror. Lucy longs for Arthur's return to their house—Arthur has been spending time visiting his own sick father.
Again experiences of the occult manifest as dreams for rational Westerners. One might wonder why Arthur does not split his time between his father and his fiancée more evenly—as it seems he spends a good deal with the former. But perhaps this is an unfair position in which to place a grieving and over-taxed young man. (Also, him being around would mess up the plot of the story.)
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
Letter, Arthur to Seward. August 31. Arthur asks Seward if he will come to lunch the next day and observe Lucy, without Lucy's knowing—Arthur understands that this could be difficult for Seward, since he was rejected by Lucy, but Lucy is still sick, and Arthur wishes desperately to know the cause of her illness.
Arthur knows that Seward was devastated when Lucy rejected his proposal of marriage, but now he can call upon their friendship to ask that Seward look after Lucy, as a favor to himself (to Arthur).
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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
Telegram, Arthur to Seward. September 1. Arthur writes, briefly, that his father has taken a turn for the worse, and so Seward is to visit Lucy without Arthur's presence, and to report to Arthur what he sees of Lucy's condition.
Again, Arthur is forced to choose between Lucy's health, which he considers more stable, and his father's, which he considers to be far more precarious.
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
Letter from Seward to Arthur. September 2. Seward reports that Lucy seemed well, but was only performing in front of Seward and her own mother—once she and Seward were alone, however, Seward examined her more closely, and saw that she looked "bloodless," without the usual signs of anemia. Lucy also complains of occasionally difficulty breathing. Seward tells Arthur that he has asked for his friend Van Helsing, a famous doctor and scientist and Seward's old teacher in Amsterdam, to consult on Lucy's condition. Van Helsing is a specialist in "odd diseases," as Seward calls them.
Van Helsing is introduced. The Professor is a strange man, and what is most notable about him, to the reader, is his bizarre manner of speaking, in a kind of broken English that must derive from his heavy Dutch accent. But Van Helsing is an intelligent man, a man of both science and broad cultural learning, whose knowledge of eastern legend and superstition, and willingness to trust these legends, place him in contrast to Seward and all of the other Western characters who don't grant any reality to the occult described in superstition and so are vulnerable to it.
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Letter from Van Helsing to Seward. September 2. Van Helsing sends a quick note to Seward, asking for rooms at a hotel in London, and saying he will be happy to visit with Lucy and determine the cause of her distress.
It is not mentioned how Van Helsing is able to travel between England and Holland at a moment's notice, but it appears that train and ferry travel between these location is quite efficient.
Themes
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Letter from Seward to Arthur. September 3. Seward reports that Van Helsing has had an initial visit with Lucy, that Van Helsing agrees with Seward that Lucy has lost a good deal of blood but does not seem typically anemic. Van Helsing, who must return briefly to Amsterdam before traveling back to London, says he will think on the cause of Lucy's sickness—Seward tells Arthur he believes Van Helsing has some idea of the nature of it, but is thinking it over to be sure. Van Helsing has not described to Seward his hunch as to the cause of Lucy's distress.
Van Helsing seems to suspect right away, when he labels Lucy's anemia as being "atypical," that something supernatural is to blame. But Van Helsing appears also to understand that he must slowly and carefully lead Seward, and others of the group, to the conclusion he suspects from the beginning—that Lucy has been bitten, and is being visited, by a vampire.
Themes
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Seward's Diary. September 4. Seward reports that, once again, Renfield becomes unhinged around noon, during the day, and subsides in his anguish at night. Seward is still confused as to the cause of this madness, as are the orderlies present. Later that day, in the late afternoon, Renfield plays happily with his flies, but that evening, he begins yelling again, and when Seward visits Renfield says that he is sick of the fly "rubbish," and that "he" (Renfield's master) has abandoned Renfield. Seward is again confused.
Renfield's behavior grows more disturbed, and Seward struggles to find a reason. What is interesting is the fact that Renfield's behavior is only inexplicable if one disregards superstition, legend, and instances of the occult. Seward, a man of science, is blinkered by his inability to consider explanations beyond the scientific realm—and Van Helsing helps Seward to see these supernatural explanations.
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
Telegram from Seward to Van Helsing. September 4. Seward reports that Lucy's condition seems to be improving.
Another instance of false hope, as Lucy's blood has returned in sufficient quantity, only to be sucked again.
Themes
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Telegram from Seward to Van Helsing. September 5. Seward reports, again, that Lucy appears even healthier, with a ruddy glow in her cheeks.
This ruddy glow, in Victorian culture, was often associate not just with health, but also with sexual arousal.
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Telegram from Seward to Van Helsing. September 6. In this message, however, Seward notes that Lucy has gotten much worse, and that Van Helsing must come immediately to look after her.
It appears that Dracula has been to visit Lucy, after a brief respite—and Lucy's condition deteriorates accordingly.
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon