Dracula by: Bram Stoker

Challenges: TBR 2008, Eponymous Challenge

Published: 1897 (Bantam Classic 1981)

# of pages: 413

Quote: “. . . you have given me hope – hope, not in what I am seeking of, but that there are good women still left to make life happy – good women , whose lives and whose truths may make good lesson for the children that are to be.” -Van Helsing p. 198

Ladies and gentlemen!! Here it is, the long awaited Dracula post! It’s been several weeks, but things have been crazy in my life so I just now finished the book. Stoker’s novel can be summed up as: There’s a reason it’s a classic.

I was fascinated about how this was the first big vampire book. Stoker created something that everyone still knows today, over 100 years later. I was also impressed about how many of the traditional vampire myths are found in this book. I expected the book to be quite a bit different, but vampires are still unable to endure garlic, crucifixes, holy water, and the sound of prayers, just like they are in most other books and movies.

The thing that impressed me the most, however, was the fact that this book is not nearly as hokey as I expected from all of the movies and the modern image of Count Dracula. I expected the book to be fake or at least silly, but I found that it was much more believable than I every thought it would be and even scary in some parts. I actually had a nightmare one night that featured vampires! It wasn’t too scary to read, but there were parts where I almost dreaded what would happen next.

One thing that confused me in the book – I was so surprised that the wolves and vampires are friends. I’ve always seen movies and books where vampires and werewolves are enemies and thought that has always been the way they were portrayed. But in Dracula the wolves work with and seem to be controlled by the vampires. If anyone knows more about this topic please let me know!

I loved the 2 women characters, Lucy and Mina. In some ways they were your typical damsel in distress, but Mina at least had a key part in the outcome of the book. Her male companions may very well have been unable to accomplish their goal without her. Van Helsing says she has a “man’s brains” at one point. Of course this is ridiculous, she has a woman’s brains, but it is most likely how the average man in the late 1800s would think of a woman like Mina. Lucy was passive, but she still endured bravely and I feared for her life at times and was pulling for her to make it through. The men are also interesting characters and although they step up and become tough men, there are many times that they almost seem silly and clueless. There’s a good balance between the men’s and women’s roles in the book.

The forward in the Bantam Classic edition (don’t read the forward before you read the novel, it’s a spoiler!) discussed sexuality found throughout the novel. I can very much imagine writing a paper on this! The movie Dracula that stars Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, and Keanu Reeves, definitely elaborates this. However, the book is very subtle on this topic, just as it is in most of the classics, and it can be argued how sexual Stoker intended some of the scenes to be.

I think this is a must read just because the character Dracula is so popular and misunderstood in today’s world. It’s also fascinating if you enjoy other vampire books which reference the many vampire myths and themes in this – the most ultimate vampire book of all time.

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