Dracula

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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Dracula, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Dracula isn't really a "novel" at all; it does not present itself as the work of a single author or narrator. Instead, Dracula consists of series of diary entries, letters, telegrams, memoranda, and occasional newspaper clippings, assembled and typed up by Mina Harker, with help from Seward, Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, Quincey Morris, and Arthur, Lord Godalming. In a sense, then, Mina is the "author" of the book: she…

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Dracula contains a study of the meaning of "sanity" and "insanity," of "wellness" and "illness." The treatment for both "insanity" and "illness" in the novel is confinement, which recurs throughout. Practically every character in the group questions his or her wellness or sanity at some point. Jonathan Harker, on his trip to Dracula's castle, is confined within the castle as a prisoner of Dracula's. Harker believes he is going insane there, and he has…

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The novel also considers the interactions of Christian belief, superstitious or "occult" practices, and rational science. The tracking of Dracula requires methodical investigations in each of these fields, and the fields themselves, by the end of the novel, appear very much interrelated, even entirely entangled. Most of the characters in the group profess a serious and proper Christian belief. The Harkers are observant Protestants, and God-fearing people; their love is made permanent in the eyes…

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Dracula contains a long meditation on "proper," socially-sanctioned love, and "improper" relations of lust and seduction. Much has been made of this aspect of the novel, particularly in 20th-century criticism, and with good reason: it is impossible to separate the act of Dracula's forcible blood-sucking, directed at unsuspecting women, from the process of violent seduction and sexual assault.

Jonathan and Mina Harker, and Arthur (Lord Godalming) and Lucy, are the novel's two…

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All the above lead into the final, and perhaps most important, theme of the novel: that of the relationship between life, death, and the state in between these two, known by Van Helsing as "undeadness." Dracula is a creature of the undead. He sleeps during the day and lives at night; he is of incredible strength when awake, but must be invited into one's room in order to begin his "seduction." But the touchstone of…

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