Dracula

Dracula Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jonathan Harker's Journal, May 16. (continued). Harker awakens in the morning in his own room. He fears, at first, that the events of the previous night were a terrible dream, but sees that his clothes have been folded in a fashion not his own; Harker believes that Dracula has carried him back to his room after the episode with the three women. Harker is glad to know, however, that Dracula has not found Harker's journal hidden in the pocket of his pants.
Again, Harker is unable to determine whether the events of the previous night were a dream or reality (just as with the "strange driver" and the bizarre ritual of the blue flames by the roadside). Harker still can't conceive of anything beyond his rational beliefs as actually being real. Dracula has not managed to intercept every means of Harker's communication, however—he has not seen Harker's journal, meaning the reader can continue along with Harker's account.
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
May 18. Harker sneaks out to see if he can get back into the women's room, to find out of the events of that night were real—but the room has been re-bolted shut, and Harker believes that Dracula has done this. Thus Harker believes, more deeply now, that the three women were no dream or vision, but real.
As with any dream, the events of the previous night are lost to Harker—when he returns to the room, he finds he cannot get in, cannot re-experience the trauma of the previous night. Yet he has begun to push past his rational "prejudices" and believe that the wild things he has experienced are real.
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Illness, Madness, and Confinement Theme Icon
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May 19. Dracula instructs Harker to write three letters: one saying he (Harker) will leave the castle in a few days; one saying Harker is leaving the next morning (from the date of the letter); and one saying Harker had left Dracula and arrived in Bistritz. Dracula orders that the letters be dated June 12, June 19, and June 29, respectively, and Harker fears that, after that final date passes, Dracula will kill Harker in the castle.
Once again, Dracula manages to direct Harker's existence by controlling Harker's every means of communication with the outside world. Harker believes that the third letter represents his death sentence—that, on June 29th, Dracula will kill Harker. Harker still does not understand exactly what Dracula wishes to do with him though he senses it has something to do with his own blood.
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May 28. Harker notices that a band of gypsies has encamped in the courtyard of Dracula's castle—gypsies frequently do this in Romania—they attach themselves to the court of a nobleman and use his castle walls for protection. But Harker believes he can use the gypsies as a means of carrying messages from inside the castle to the outside world. Harker writes a letter to Mina, in shorthand, explaining that he is a prisoner (but leaving out his supernatural experiences). He writes a letter to Hawkins saying only that Hawkins should speak with Mina.
Harker believes that the gypsies might not be loyal to Dracula, but might instead live "on their own," without allegiance to any one power or government. This follows on a long history of legend, in Europe, related to gypsies, who were considered lawless peoples, often vagabonds, who traveled around the Continent and tended to protect their own interests and to keep close family bonds.
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Harker throws the letters outside to the gypsies, along with gold, and motions to them that the letters should be sent via post. But Dracula comes into Harker's room soon after with the two letters; he opens both, and seeing that the Hawkins letter is innocuous, says that Harker might post it. Dracula burns the encoded letter to Mina, however, sensing that Harker has put in it information about his imprisonment. Dracula leaves, and Harker is dejected at the failure of his plan.
But it appears that the gypsies are in fact loyal to Dracula—or, at least, Dracula has managed to convince the gypsies that they ought to spy on Harker. Harker has thus had his first attempt at escape thwarted, and though he is greatly upset by this failure, he continues to behave rationally, and to work methodically to find a way to elude Dracula's clutches.
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May 31. Harker awakes this morning to see if he cannot find his own paper and envelopes, but looks through his belongings and sees that all the documents he arrived with, along with his traveling clothes, have disappeared—presumably taken away by Dracula.
Because Harker does not know anything about Transylvania, outside of what he has read in books, he is at a loss to replace these lost items, nor can he leave the castle to do so.
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June 17. Harker notices two Slovaks, each driving wagons, arrive at the castle and deposit a large quantity of empty wooden boxes outside the castle. Harker attempts to hail the Slovaks through the window, and also the gypsies, still encamped there, but the men ignore him. Harker puzzles as to what will be placed in the empty boxes.
First reference to the wooden boxes, which will prove to be of great importance to Dracula. The boxes represent Dracula's "safe haven" away from the Castle, and enable him to continue his reign of terror outside of Transylvania.
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June 24. Before morning. Harker peers out his window and sees Dracula leaving the castle in his lizard-like fashion, dressed in Harker's clothes—Harker believes that Dracula is pretending to be Harker in the nearby village, so as not to arouse suspicion at Harker's imprisonment.
This plot point is not expanded upon, but it seems that Dracula has a certain talent for imitation, as he also pretended to be the "strange driver." It is important to note, however, that Dracula is often recognizable even when in costume, because his looks are so singular.
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Harker begins staring out his window in the moonlight, which is flecked with dust—as he does so, he is overcome by the beauty of the scene and landscape, but he slowly realizes that the moonlight and dust are beginning to hypnotize him, but he awaken, quickly, regains his senses, and flees to his bedroom.
Harker is overcome by the sublime beauty of the wild landscape—literally overcome. Again this suggests that "civilized" man is ill-equipped to deal with the wildness of true nature. It is also interesting that it is the moon and dust that hypnotize him, as the moon symbolizes night and dust often symbolizes death, and Harker is in the clutches of an un-dead vampire that can only function at night.
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Later, in his bedroom, Harker hears a sound in Dracula's room—a muffled cry, then silence. A gypsy woman outside cries that her child has disappeared, and Harker surmises that Dracula has taken the child and done something violent to it. Harker sees, out his window, that a pack of wolves are walking away from the castle, licking their lips, and it is implied that Dracula has somehow deposited the boy outside, as food for the wolves.
Once again, this scene is not followed up on, but it seems that Dracula has drunk the child's blood and then disposed of the child's corpse outside the castle. It is interesting to note that Dracula must be feeding during Harker's stay, even if Harker is not the source of Dracula's "meals."
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June 25. Morning. The sun delights Harker as he wakes—Harker realizes, in a flash of inspiration, that he has not seen Dracula in the daylight, meaning that, perhaps, the monstrous Count cannot operate during those hours. Harker resolves to put a plan into action during one of the ensuing days, in order to find a way to escape. Harker ends this journal entry by praying to God, and sending his love to Mina and to Hawkins, whom he calls a "second father" to him.
This is a major revelation for Harker, and it enables him to elude Dracula long enough to escape, despite the fact that Harker does not know anything official or scientific about Dracula's vampiric qualities. The sun, here, is emblematic of Harker's realization that he can escape—a literal burst of sunshine into the gloom of the castle.
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Same day, later. Harker writes of his efforts this day. After deciding to take action, Harker crawls out of his window, and crawls down the side of the castle, carefully on the large, rough blocks of stone, until he reaches Dracula's window, which he enters. Dracula's room is barely furnished, though there are heaps of gold from many countries in the corners.
Dracula's tombs, here and in England, are filled with gold, though it is never fully explained where this gold comes from. It might be assumed that Dracula has amassed this fortune over many years, as he has lived a great amount of time—and perhaps has stolen gold from his victims.
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Harker continues through Dracula's rooms, a series of them in a special "apartment" in the castle, and eventually emerges into a small chapel, filled with old earth, broken tombs, and other indicators of death and decay. Harker finds fifty of the wooden boxes dropped off by the Slovaks, all filled with earth—and in one of them, Dracula is lying.
Here the boxes are located—and Harker understands, slightly better, what they might mean. Dracula lies in one of the boxes and appears to be asleep, but the box also seems to protect him—to provide him with a source of rejuvenation.
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Dracula appears either to be dead or sleeping, but his cheeks are rosy and warm, and he looks peaceful, almost happy. Harker wants to look for the keys to the castle on Dracula's body, but worries about waking him—he becomes spooked and crawls back out Dracula's window, returning to his own chamber, to think on what he has seen.
One of the ironies of the "un-dead" state is that, in sleep, the undead appear to look alive, and when they are walking, the undead appear to move as ghosts or shades. This behavior will also be seen when Lucy becomes undead.
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June 29. Dracula comes to Harker and tells him that, the following morning, Harker shall leave the castle. Harker does not believe Dracula, and thinks the Count might try to kill him in the night. Harker asks whether he can leave that very night, and Dracula invites Harker to do so. Dracula pulls back the main door of the castle, showing a large number of wolves licking their lips just outside. Harker is horrified, and sees he cannot truly leave. He returns to his bedroom, defeated.
Again, the wolves are emblematic of Dracula's terrible power in nature, and the wolves, though tamed by Dracula, would be sent to hunt Harker in moments. Harker believes, at this point, that he must escape soon, otherwise Dracula will have his way with him—perhaps by stealing Harker's blood.
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In the night, Harker hears Dracula talking to the three women, telling them that "tonight is his time," and that tomorrow night is theirs. Harker worries that, in the night-time or the next day, Dracula will murder him.
Again, Harker worries that Dracula will seek to kill him; Harker does not yet know the exact mechanism by which Dracula sucks the blood from his victims.
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June 30. Morning. Harker awakes at dawn, hearing the crow of the cock, and believes he has lived through the night. But when he goes downstairs to try the main door to the castle, he finds that Dracula has locked it again. Harker resolves to find the key, even if Dracula keeps it on his own body.
This means that Harker must have one last visit to the chapel and to Dracula. Many scenes in the novel involve living characters disturbing the tombs of characters who appear to be dead—this happens also with Lucy.
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Harker crawls back into Dracula's crypt, and finds the Count "asleep" in his wooden box filled with earth. Dracula's mouth has been smeared with blood—Harker does not know whose, but seems dimly aware that it might be his—but Harker cannot find the key on Dracula's body. Harker is disgusted by the sight of the Count, and, finding a shovel nearby, strikes the Count hard on the forehead, gashing his head but not waking him, nor harming him in any serious way. Harker then rushes back out to the main area of the castle.
This section provides two key bits of information regarding Dracula. First, Harker now knows, more or less explicitly, that Dracula feeds upon blood, and that Dracula intended to suck more of Harker's own blood during Harker's time at the castle. Second, Dracula does not appear to be vulnerable while in his protective wooden box—at least, only certain kinds of weapons can defeat him there, and Harker does not possess these weapons.
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There, Harker hears that Slovaks and gypsies have arrived, and they open the main door, but a strong gust of wind blows it closed, and Harker worries that he will never be able to escape the castle. He hears the Slovaks and gypsies dragging the wooden boxes, filled with earth, away, on some kind of business for the Count.
The only indication we have, at this juncture, that Dracula wishes to travel to England arrives in the form of the boxes, which are heavy and which must be transported in advance of Dracula's departure for Western Europe.
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Back in his room, Harker decides, finally, to crawl out onto the steep battlements, and down the rocky slope of the castle walls, as a way of escape from the castle, to Bistritz, and eventually back west. He resolves to take with him some of Dracula's gold for his journey. Harker ends his journal by hoping that, if he does not survive, somehow the journal might make it back to Mina, as proof of how much Harker loves her, and has loved her throughout his ordeal at the castle.
Now Harker must try to crawl like Dracula, in order to escape Dracula. The gold he steals explains how Harker is able to make it back to England financially—Harker and Mina then inherit a good deal of money from Hawkins, meaning that their financial situation is never imperiled. Harker, it is implied, also secrets away his journal, which will prove a valuable resource for the group as it later tracks Dracula.
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