Dracula

Dracula Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Letter from Miss Mina Murray to Miss Lucy Westenra, May 9. Mina, Harker's lover, writes to her friend Lucy, whom she will be joining soon at Whitby, by the seaside in England. Mina is an assistant schoolmistress and is learning to write in shorthand, so that she can read Jonathan's writing and keep a journal of her own, which she plans to do with Lucy when at the beach. Mina tells Lucy that she has heard, one can develop a nearly "absolute" memory of certain events by journaling them quickly after experiencing them.
An important introductory note. Mina wants to increase her ability to transcribe events exactly—and of course a great deal of the remainder of the novel will involve her doing just that. It is convenient that Mina is so concerned with ideas of transcription and reproduction of written texts, as, without her, the group might not have a single account of its hunt for Dracula, to serve as a reference and guide.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Mina ends her letter saying she has only received a very quick letter from Harker, saying he has arrived at Castle Dracula. Mina asks Lucy for information about a tall, handsome suitor of Lucy's.
Mina seems to worry, based on this short letter, that Harker is not telling her everything he has seen and experienced at the Castle—and, of course, he's not.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Letter from Lucy to Mina (undated). Lucy tells Mina that she has fallen in love with the "tall, handsome suitor," a man named Arthur Holmwood, while in London. Arthur gets along well with Lucy's mother, which pleases Lucy. Lucy has also met a man named Dr. Seward, who runs an insane asylum, and who Lucy believes would be a good match for Mina, if she weren't already promised to Jonathan Harker. Lucy ends her letter saying her declaration of love for Arthur is a secret.
Arthur, Seward, and Morris are introduced in the novel as potential lover's of Lucy's. Lucy's functions in the novel are twofold—first, as a subject of romantic interest, and second, as a kind of test-case in the progression of vampirism. In this sense, Lucy is constructed as a somewhat passive character, whereas Mina, her foil, is far more active—helping the group to discover what is wrong with Lucy, and to hunt down Dracula.
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, May 24. Lucy begins this letter by telling Mina that she has had three suitors come to her in one day. The first was Dr. Seward, psychologist and head of the insane asylum, whom Lucy respects but whom she does not love. Lucy had a difficult time telling Seward that she was in love with another man, and although Seward was upset, he went away as a gentleman.
The only "unrealistic" part of Lucy's courtship process is, perhaps, the speed with which her suitors are willing to be friends with one another, and with Lucy. Seward, in particular, is upset but more than happy to help Lucy in the days and weeks going forward. At the same time, this very "unrealistic" nature of the courtship identifies Lucy as a kind of ideal Victorian woman, who is so chaste and good that even those who court her love are happy to "just be friends." It also establishes Lucy as the core of a community of friendship, in stark contrast to the solitary Dracula and his solitary life.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
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Later that evening, Lucy resumes her letter, and tells of the second suitor, a Texan named Quincey Morris, who is in England for unexplained business reasons. Morris, also a gentleman, asks Lucy if she wouldn't mind hitching up herself to him, in a kind of Texas slang—Lucy finds him charming but tells Morris she is in love with another man. Morris understands, and the two part as friends.
Morris is, in many ways, an exemplar of American goodness—he is forthright, honest, trustworthy, almost a Boy Scout in his willingness to help and ask for nothing in return. Morris will be given the chance to sacrifice everything for the group's cause—and he is the only member of the group not to survive their journey to Transylvania.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Lucy includes, as an addendum to her letter, the fact that she has accept Arthur's proposal, and that the two are to be married soon.
Lucy's romance with Arthur is hardly a fiery or tumultuous one—Arthur is a devoted and loving fiancé, and he dotes on Lucy. This sort of love against stands in contrast to the profound and overwhelming "seductions" of Dracula.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Dr. Seward's Diary, May 25. Dr. Seward, head of the insane asylum, notes down that, as a way of remedying his sadness after Lucy's rejection of his offer of marriage, looks to his patients. He interviews one, a man named Renfield, who experiences "periods of gloom" and morbid fascinations, of a kind Seward cannot entirely make out. Seward resolves to study the patient in greater depth in the coming days.
The introduction of Renfield, who will prove to be an interesting test-case at the hospital, and an energetic adherent to the teachings of his "master," Dracula. Seward begins to suspect Dracula's supernatural powers (before Van Helsing confirms them) based on the Renfield's strange behavior.
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
Letter from Morris to Arthur, May 25. Morris writes quickly to Arthur to tell him that he and Seward remain friends with Arthur, and wish to celebrate Arthur's success with the beautiful Lucy. This letter appears to indicate that Morris, Seward, and Arthur have been friends for some time.
Again, the three men very quickly settle their differences and agree to celebrate Arthur's success with Lucy together. Stoker wishes to establish, quite quickly, that the men are the best of friends, and loyal to one another.
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon
Telegram from Arthur to Morris, May 26. Arthur agrees, happily, to celebrate with Seward and Morris.
One of the novel's few telegrams. Another, more important telegram will be delivered late, thus impacting the events of the novel (and Lucy's illness).
Themes
Writing, Journaling, and Messaging Theme Icon
Romantic Love, Seduction, and Sexual Purity Theme Icon