Dracula

Dracula Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lucy's Diary. September 12. Lucy writes briefly in her diary that, once again, she feels better, that Van Helsing's garlic flowers have brought her some measure of peace, although she doesn't understand their purpose, and that she expects to sleep well this night.
The scent of the flowers is a powerful one, and one can't imagine that it's an entirely pleasant odor, but Lucy seems to be responding to the idea that this powerful, strange odor is used to protect her, and to improve her health—thus she believes she likes the smell.
Themes
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
Seward's Diary. September 13. Seward picks up Van Helsing at his hotel, and they return to Lucy's home. There, they encounter Mrs. Westenra, who tells them that she has also helped Lucy's cause by emptying her bedroom of all the smelly garlic Van Helsing had placed in it the night before. Van Helsing is shocked by this, but maintains decorum until Lucy's mother leaves—then, Van Helsing orders Seward to rush into Lucy's bedroom with him, to check on her.
Another powerful instance of dramatic irony. The reader knows what Van Helsing knows—that the garlic is being used to ward off Dracula. But Seward, and to a greater extent Lucy's mother, do not understand what is happening at all, and when Lucy's mother takes away the garlic, the reader and Van Helsing understand what terrible effects this mistake might have.
Themes
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Van Helsing proceeds to give some of Lucy his own blood—she has again lost some in the night, and looks more waxy and pale than ever. After the procedure, Van Helsing tells Lucy's mother, softly, that she is not to remove anything from Lucy's room during the remainder of the treatment. Seward wonders in his journal about the significance of the garlic ritual in protecting Lucy.
Although this Dracula visit does not kill Lucy, it means that there must be another transfusion, this time from Van Helsing, who is old and relatively frail himself, and who probably cannot give very much of his own blood without imperiling his safety.
Themes
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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. September 17. After four days, Lucy writes in her diary that she is again feeling better—it seems that Van Helsing's garlic treatments in the room are working. Van Helsing has spent the night in Lucy's room, on a chair, the past four nights. Lucy has not been disturbed in her sleep, but has heard the wings of a bat battering against the window of her room.
Van Helsing is not willing to leave Lucy's care, at this point, to anyone other than himself, as he realizes that only he possesses full knowledge of the vampiric threat. Soon, Van Helsing will initiate his former student Seward into the mysteries surrounding vampiric legend.
Themes
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
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Life, Death, and the Un-Dead Theme Icon
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From The Pall-Mall Gazette newspaper. September 18. "The Escaped Wolf" (article). A newspaper article is included in the account. In it, an unnamed reporter investigates the escape and disappearance of a wolf from a local London zoo. The reporter interviews a husband and wife who work at the zoo, as a means of figuring out how the wolf escaped. They seem to argue that the wolf managed to escape of no fault of their own—the married couple also tells the reporter that the wolf is no more dangerous than a London dog, although the reporter seems not to believe this. Later that day, again without any warning, the wolf returns to the zoo of its own accord—after having been absent for at least one night. The reporter ends the small article with a kind of humorous "shrug," as though it is simply another trifling and strange event in the great city of London.
Again, a reference to a strange wolf, which the reader has come to associate with the presence of Dracula. Dracula's relationship to wolves and dogs could be the subject of an interesting paper, as Dracula does not appear to control them completely, but rather Dracula's presence excites in wolves and dogs a simultaneous fear, excitement, and rash of strange behavior. Later on in the novel, a wolf will actually leap into a room, and at that point it will be difficult to determine if Dracula has inhabited that wolf, or if he has merely ordered a wolf to do his bidding, while he waits behind for a chance to enter the room.
Themes
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Seward's Diary. September 17. Seward reports, briefly, that Renfield burst into his office earlier that night with a dinner-knife, in an attempt to stab and kill Seward. Seward managed to protect himself behind his desk, and escaped with only a small cut on his wrist before Renfield was tackled by orderlies and taken back to his room. Seward writes that he will rest this evening, as Van Helsing has not asked him to tend to Lucy—who appears to be improving, based on the garlic treatments of her bedroom.
Renfield sense that Seward wishes to stand between him (Renfield) and the master, although Seward does not know exactly, as of yet, who this master might be. Renfield is an intriguing case in the novel—a man whose insanity is never really in doubt, but a man, too, possessed of a kind of "special sight," a man who is capable of communing with the occult and with Dracula. Within the civilized Western world only those who are insane can commune with the occult, because the rest of society does not grant that the occult is real.
Themes
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Christianity, Science, and the Occult Theme Icon
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Telegram from Van Helsing to Seward. September 17. Van Helsing, who has had to go away for a day to Amsterdam, asks Seward to place fresh garlic in Lucy's room that night.
Sadly, this telegram is not addressed properly, and is not delivered on time—with dire consequences for Lucy.
Themes
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Seward's Diary. September 18. Seward realizes that Van Helsing did not include the correct county on his telegram, meaning it reached Seward a day late. Seward immediately travels to see Lucy, wondering how she has passed the night without the protection of the garlic. Seward curses their bad luck in miscommunicating.
Another instance of dramatic irony. Although Seward senses that something might have gone terribly wrong, the reader is without a doubt that Dracula has chosen this night, without garlic to keep him away, to visit Lucy.
Themes
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Memorandum left by Lucy. September 17. Night. Lucy has trouble sleeping the night of the 17th, without Van Helsing or Seward present. She goes to her window in the night and sees a big bat outside. Her mother walks into her bedroom and Lucy asks her mother to sleep with her in the bed, to keep her company, and so that both can stay warm as they sleep. Her mother agrees.
The relationship between mother and daughter, here, is really one of the novel's very few, and it is a sweet reminder of the mutual dependence children have on their parents, and parents on their children. Sadly, this scene is to be interrupted by horror, and the entry of Dracula.
Themes
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Suddenly, as they sleep, a large, gray wolf smashes through the window of the bedroom but jumps back outside—a misty pallor, filled with mesmerizing specks of light, enters, and Lucy's mother, shocked, points at the pallor and appears to fall into a fit. Lucy's mother, in her fit, tears the garlic flowers off Lucy's neck and places them on her own chest, and falls into a coma-like state in the bed.
Another instance of dramatic irony. The reader knows that, once the garlic is stripped from Lucy and grabbed, by accident, by Lucy's mother, Lucy will no longer be protected from the vampire, and will be left open to a final attack which could have fatal consequences for her.
Themes
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Four maids come into the bedroom to see about the commotion—Lucy says that they ought to go back outside and have a drink of wine, since all four are in hysterics, and Lucy must figure out what to do, since the gray wolf is still pacing outside the broken window. The four servants go into the dining room, have a drink, and collapse—Lucy rushes out and realizes that the wine has been poisoned with laudanum, and that the four servant-women will sleep the night through in a drug-induced daze. Lucy is alone in the house.
The presence of these maids points to an important but typically overlooked aspect of the novel—its treatment of the relationship between people of different classes. Here, the maids are purely victims, and Stoker does not make much of an effort to inhabit their consciousness. Instead, the novel treats of the intimate thoughts of many characters who all happen to be middle class, upper middle class, or upper class (like Arthur).
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Lucy takes this written account and folds it, placing it on her breast. She is still surrounded by a mist and specks of light in the room, and outside, the wolf still stalks around angrily. Lucy believes that her mother has died from the shock of the night's events, and Lucy believes that she, too, will not survive the night.
Lucy manages to protect her written account by hiding it on her person. This is an important device of Stoker's—otherwise, the reader would not trust that any other character could have knowledge of the events that Lucy experienced alone.
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