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Book Discussion > Dracula

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message 1: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (16sparrows) | 45 comments Mod
Book Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think of Stoker’s choice to use letters, journals, and newspaper clippings to tell the story?

2. How did the role of science and scientific advancements shape the story for you?

3. What differences did you see between Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra? How did those differences play off of each other?

4. Did you ever feel sympathy for Dracula?


message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily (ramblingravioli) | 1 comments Hello!

1. I really liked the way Stoker used letters to tell the story because it meant you never knew whose point of view was coming next. I also thought it was smart because in the beginning of the story, we weren't aware of weather Jonathan Harker survived or escaped Dracula's castle. I think it was a clever device to use as it also allowed the reader to believe the personal experience as it was a personal account - which may have been easier to believe than having an external or separate narrator. I also think it let Stoker blend contextual beliefs of that time (scientific break throughs and cultural norms) with superstitious/supernatural beliefs that may have not been fully accepted by society. Also newspaper articles would have made the events more plausible!

2. I personally really enjoyed the incorporation of scientific discoveries and advancements in "Dracula". The interest in psychiatry and the mind was fascinating to read about (and realise how far this field of medicine has come!) as well as the blood transfusions. I found it really interesting how the blood transfusions were seen to contain the lifeblood of the giver - a reference I think to the idea back then that sexual intercourse was the mingling of two bloods (my favourite reference to this is in John Donne's poem "The Flea"). I think by incorporating these scientific advancements the reader really gets a snapshot of the current scientific thinking in Stoker's time. And the use of the phonograph and type writer too!

3. To be honest I hadn't really thought about the differences between Mina and Lucy, other than I felt that Mina seemed to fit the mould of what a woman was expected to be during Stoker's time. The irrationality and sensuality first displayed by Lucy seemed to project the idea that Lucy was being everything a woman should not be. (I hope that makes sense!). Women's sexuality seems to be depicted as a dangerous thing, and if we were to see Dracula's bites as a metaphor for Lucy's sexual awakening, the "poor, innocent Lucy" becomes a sensual, attractive being who hypnotises men and murders children. I'm not completely sure if this is what Stoker intended, but it does show that a woman's sexuality is a dangerous thing. I think this can also be seen in the depiction of Dracula's three vampire women. Especially in the scene Jonathan encounters them. But with Mina's transformation, she seems to fight the whole process and doesn't seem to easily give in to the transformation. This could possibly be a lesson intended for women but I'm not completely sure. Would love to hear what everyone else thinks!

4. Hmm, did I feel sympathy for Dracula? Perhaps at the beginning of Jonathan's story when he first explores the castle, and finds it to be empty and Dracula alone. But after Jonathan discovers Dracula's lair and the events that happen on Dracula's trip to England, I seem to side on the multiple narrators' view that Dracula is evil.

I can't wait to hear what everyone else thinks!

- Emily


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