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Archived Group Reads 2009-10 > Dracula, part 2; ch. 5-8

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula | 1001 comments For discussion of chapters 5-8 - potential spoilers!!

Question/Comment for discussion:

At last, we meet Mina and Lucy! There is an interesting dichotomy presented with these two women, who have apparently been friends since childhood. Which character do you find the most appealing as a person, and which the most appealing as a character in a book? I wonder if anyone will answer these two questions with different names, or if the same woman answers both questions :)


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments Well, firstly I need to just say how much I am LOVING this book! I just adore everything about it - the spooky eeriness is so Victorian as opposed to novels of our day and I love it!

I like both characters - Mina and Lucy. I prefer Mina but that is perhaps as I see Lucy as more the swooning type that needs to be looked after, although credit to Stoker for not making her unbearably so (i.e the simpering wet blanket that was the girl in The Woman in White whose name I forget).

Good question, though Paula, about which character I find most appealing in a book. In that case I would have to say Lucy as she is definitely the more swoony-type and is also the pretty girl who gets all the attention, therefore perfect for a Victorian novel. Mina is clearly the stronger of the two women but she doesn't have the same appeal as Marion Halcome, say (again, The Woman in White ). What does everyone else think?


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments What does everyone think about the fact that the book is all written in either journal entries, letters, newspaper cuttings or telegrams?

I love it. I think it is perfect for a story as complex as this for getting across everyones viewpoint. We, the reader, know what is going on but we can see it through the eyes of those who do or don't.

Somebody asked me yesterday if this was the first novel ever written to use this particular media? Does anyone know if it is?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I love the "real feel" of this novel. I think the form of the writing makes it so eerily haunting. I don't think it would have packed such a wallop if it it had been the traditional form of novels. The characters are so vivid (although I must admit that Bela Lugosi is in my mind as I see the Count). I do like Mina a bit better as she is a stronger character and a good friend to Lucy. I sometimes do chuckle a bit at how they spoke to one another, so polite, so correct (and of course to our way of speaking to friends and loved ones so overdone).

I think the words create that misty dark and foreboding better than anything I have currently read. How wonderful to read a novel that can make the reader feel the fog, the haunting, the scary texture so completely. I love it!


message 5: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) I am really enjoying the format of this book, the excerpts of journals, letters, newspapers etc. I think it lends an air of historical evidence and realism to the work of imagination - very clever. The realistic elements makes the horror even more unsettling I think.

Of the two women, I personally feel more drawn to Mina, she seems thoughtful, sensible and intelligent and perhaps I've been a little influenced by JH's reflections from Draculas castle earlier on. That said, I think Lucy's character important to the story as well...


message 6: by Silver (new)

Silver Paula wrote: "For discussion of chapters 5-8 - potential spoilers!!

Question/Comment for discussion:

At last, we meet Mina and Lucy! There is an interesting dichotomy presented with these two women, who ha..."


That is an interesting question. I have to admit, that I myself never really gave it much thought, of which of the two I preferred. I do not think I truly did like one more than the other. They do have very different traits, as pointed out above, but I have to say I enjoyed them both equally.

I myself quite loved the way in which the book is written though letters, journal entries, telegrams, etc.


message 7: by Grace (new)

Grace (graycie) | 16 comments I hope it's ok if I ask a question. What does everyone think of Lucy's sleepwalking? Is it brought on simply by nerves or is there something mysterious behind it?


message 8: by Silver (new)

Silver Her sleepwalking is an interesting thing, and quite currious. I think there is an indication that there is something more behind her sleepwalking.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I think sleepwalking has always carried the aura of mystery around it. It has the idea of being eerie and puts a person out of control of their actions which I think feeds into the book.

I have a daughter who slept-walked and one time we found her outside in my sunroom sleeping on the floor. After that, we installed an alarm when she got up and walked. It is frightening.


message 10: by Silver (new)

Silver Marialyce wrote: "I think sleepwalking has always carried the aura of mystery around it. It has the idea of being eerie and puts a person out of control of their actions which I think feeds into the book.

I have a ..."


Yes, eerie is the first word that came to my mind as well when considering sleepwalking. There is something naturally mysterious about it.


message 11: by Paula (new)

Paula | 1001 comments Grace wrote: "I hope it's ok if I ask a question. What does everyone think of Lucy's sleepwalking? Is it brought on simply by nerves or is there something mysterious behind it?"

Yes, bring on the questions!! :)


message 12: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 83 comments I know he's a psychiatric patient in the asylum but doesn't Lucy's, and Renfield's behaviour seem not alike, but similar - Dracula's closeness changes people - and animals, e.g. wolves - am I making sense lol


message 13: by Grace (new)

Grace (graycie) | 16 comments I was thinking that maybe Dracula was calling out to Lucy, drawing her out of her bedroom and house to come to him. Maybe she wasn't really sleepwalking but under his spell.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) You are right, Maggie. They both seem to go in and out of trances, periods of lucidity and such. Perhaps Dracula is calling to the lower instincts of men/women through their subconscious mind.

I think you are right too, Grace. If you have seen the movie, it is the way that the movie interprets that scene. Dracula stares up at her window. Lucy "awakens" and walks to him as I recall.


message 15: by Grace (new)

Grace (graycie) | 16 comments Marialyce wrote: "You are right, Maggie. They both seem to go in and out of trances, periods of lucidity and such. Perhaps Dracula is calling to the lower instincts of men/women through their subconscious mind.

I t..."


I have not seen the movie yet. I just added it to my netflix list.


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments I did wonder if there was more the Lucy's sleepwalking. I thought it was maybe that Dracula had singled her out (how, I don't know) and she was going to him each night.

I don't know what the story with Renfield is yet but he is clearly affected in a similar way. I wonder how he knows Dracula (his "master")? I'm sure all will become clear soon enough.

I haven't seen the film either.


message 17: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 83 comments I did see the film some years ago - and remember it was quite good and quite faithful to the book - I've just put it on my Lovefilm list again - although God knows when I'll get it - some of my films have been on the list for nearly two years (has anyone else had this problem) sorry off subject lol


message 18: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 18 comments I like the fact that this section eases the tension of Jonathan's predicament at Dracula's castle a bit by introducing Mina and Lucy and showing their friendship before bringing back in the chills with Lucy's sleepwalking. I agree with you guys--it's clear that Lucy and Dr. Seward's psychiatric patient are both effected, but differently, by Dracula. Stoker is really easing the suspense up and down well. I prefer Mina, simply because she seems more serious next Lucy's detailing her THREE marriage proposals in one day! (Or is that in the next section? I'm a little past Ch. 8.) I also like the epistolary style here--it makes you read between the lines to see what Dracula is doing and is all the creepier for it.


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments I like that too, Rachel. It leaves Jonathan Harker's story dangling as we don't know what happened to him.


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments What did everyone think of the Demeter's log book? I thought the ship stearing itself into Wnitby harbour, unmaned and in the middle of a freak storm was brilliant! Then the log book with all the men just disappearing was fantastic. Stoker certainly knows how to build tension and make you want to keep reading, doesn't he?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Oh, he sure does! ...and the captain tied to the wheel very spooky. Great imagining how frightened the crew must have been as one after the other disappeared. The storm just added another layer to the macabre scene. Just perfect! The sea itself can be a very frightening place, especially during a storm. It really was the perfect entrance for Dracula don't you think?


message 22: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) And how convienient that there's a cementery so near the shore! Suspicious, isn't it? :)

Hey, isn't Renfield a vampire? I was so sure he is! He behaves like one. Maybe he wants to be a vampire, that's why. For now, he is my favourite character- even more scary than Dracula.
By the way, don't you find dr. Seward creepy? He seems to be too much interested in his job.

I totally agree with you, Rachel, regarding the contrast between Jonathan's and Mina's journals. It was like drawing a deep breath and only then realizing that you were holding it for too long (I hope you know what I mean).

It is mentioned that she used to sleepwalk long before she had any chance to meet Dracula. But I'm positive that he was calling her. What do you think, maybe he was taking advantage of her weakness, maybe she was just prone to fall under his influence because of her delicacy?

I prefer Lucy, because she sleepwalks. If something spooky happens to Mina I will like her more :)


message 23: by Silver (new)

Silver Kinga wrote: "And how convienient that there's a cementery so near the shore! Suspicious, isn't it? :)

Hey, isn't Renfield a vampire? I was so sure he is! He behaves like one. Maybe he wants to be a vampire, th..."


I cannot say that I thought Seward creepy, but there is something generally creepy about working in an asylum especially considering the way asylum were in those days. And the asylum is located in this isolated place in the woods.

Renfield is quite interesting, I do not think he is quite a vampire at this point, but I do think he has been recruited in someway by Dracula, I am quite interesting to know just when and how they first met, and how Refieled ended up in the asylum.

Did Dracula actually met him when he was already there? Or did they know each other before then?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I don't know if they had met before, but there is a kind of mind connection, I think. Renfied can be perfectly lucid and I can't help but think he becomes crazed after some kind of contact with Dracula. Does Dracula call to his disturbed mind?


message 25: by Silver (last edited Sep 23, 2010 03:28PM) (new)

Silver Marialyce wrote: "I don't know if they had met before, but there is a kind of mind connection, I think. Renfied can be perfectly lucid and I can't help but think he becomes crazed after some kind of contact with Dra..."

That is what I wonder, if it is in fact Dracula that was the cause of him ending up in the aslyum or if in fact becasue he was in the asylum he made an easy target for Dracula. As well I do not think it is a coinicidence that Dracula had chose a house near the asylum, so I wonder if Dracula, had installed Renfiled there beforehand to act as an agent for him, or if he just thought that would be a good place to recruit others to his bidding.


message 26: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) Now that I think of it, you are right. He doesn't seem like a vampire.
I want to know that too, Silver. I hope we will find out :)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I think that Dracula's mind control was what made that connection between Renfield and him. I more think that the asylum connection was pre destined and that perhaps Renfield, because he was more crazed was the easiest target for Dracula. (plus his eating habits were somewhat of a link I think!)

Don't think me crazy too, but did Stoker through Dracula) think the mind of a crazy man and that of a Victorian woman easier to dominate?


message 28: by Silver (new)

Silver Marialyce wrote:Don't think me crazy too, but did Stoker through Dracula) think the mind of a crazy man and that of a Victorian woman easier to dominate?
..."


I do not know what Stoker's personal views were upon the subject of women, but it would certainly be the mind set of the period to presume that women's minds as well as that of mentally unstable individuals would be more subjective and weaker, to being controlled and that women could more easily be led astray.

Stoker does seem to reaffirm this view within the writing of the novel, but if he is doing it out of his own belief in that ideology, or just for the affect it would cause upon the readers in weaving a frightening tale, I do not know.


message 29: by Julia (new)

Julia (jujulia) | 30 comments Boof wrote: "What does everyone think about the fact that the book is all written in either journal entries, letters, newspaper cuttings or telegrams?

I love it. I think it is perfect for a story as complex..."


I think the first novels which made this genre popular in England were "Pamela" and "Clarissa" by Samuel Richardson, and after these two epistolary novels started beaming up all over Europe from Montesquieu's "Lettres persanes" (the "Persian Letters") or Rousseau's "Julie ou la nouvelle Héloise" ("Julie or the new Héloise").
Also another "spooky" novel was written mostly in letters: "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. Would be rather interesting to compare these two....


message 30: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I am just starting chapters 5-8 but Mina and Lucy's relationship strikes me as odd and makes me uncomfortable.
I agree Boof I don't think she her character matches nor is written as strongly as Marian's in Women in White.
Does anyone think that Lucy's swooning is a front? I think her preference for men in my opinion is in question. Maybe I am way off.

I am dying to know what the "secret" is that Lucy's keeps refering to?

Yes, this book does take a hold of you. I love it and would have never thought Dracula would intrest me. Glad I am reading it. Its 3:00 a.m. on Sunday and I am reading. :)


message 31: by Silver (last edited Sep 26, 2010 02:32AM) (new)

Silver Rebecca wrote: "I am just starting chapters 5-8 but Mina and Lucy's relationship strikes me as odd and makes me uncomfortable.
I agree Boof I don't think she her character matches nor is written as strongly as M..."


I have to say this early in the book I never really questioned or thought anything of the realtionship between Lucy and Mina, but without giving anything away, later on in the book it does start to appear more curious to me as it were.

Though I did always find thier living arrangements to be curious. I do not think it is ever explained exactly why they happen to be living together or what became of Mina's own parents, and I cannot recall if it mention anything about Lucy's father.

In regards to the way in which the book is written, though I do not know exactly how it is he came to decide to use that mix of letters, news articles, diaries, etc.. but it is strongly suspected that he got the idea to tell the story from multiple perspectives from Wilkie Collin's "The Moonstone"


message 32: by Jamie (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) Does anyone know where Renfield is from?

Maybe he had contact with Dracula and went insane. Jonathan probably almost did and if he hasn't died may be.

Also, how did Lucy and Mina meet?

Lucy seems to be a little higher in social class and it almost seems like Mina could have been a companion or governess to Lucy.

I think Dracula preys on weaker people. Lucy's mother has heart problems and when Lucy is distressed she sleep walks and has been feared being anemic. Renfield could already have been mentally ill. I think Lucy knows what happened between Dracula and herself but like Jonathan is blocking it out.


message 33: by Silver (last edited Sep 26, 2010 04:38PM) (new)

Silver Jamie wrote: "Does anyone know where Renfield is from?

Maybe he had contact with Dracula and went insane. Jonathan probably almost did and if he hasn't died may be.

Also, how did Lucy and Mina meet?

Lu..."


It does not say where Renfield is from, and though I don't know how exzactly Lucy and Mina met, there is a reference somewhere in the book to them being childhood friends.


message 34: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Is there a name for the "old man" Lucy encounters? His strange dialect and ramblings of the dead and lies. Is his time with us only a brief one?


message 35: by Silver (new)

Silver In Mina's journal a few pages into Ch. 6 he is refered to as Mr. Swales


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Renfield just seems to appear in the novel. At first he seemed like an aside in the doctor's life and practice. I believe, it is later that his connection to Dracula is established.


message 37: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 83 comments I've just watched the Coppola version of Dracula (which isn't very good!) - in it its said that Harker is being sent to Transylvania to replace Renfield who had personal problems - though this isn't in the book. It would explain why Renfield is like he is!


message 38: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I LOVE this book & still wonder why I never read it before. I thought that Mina was just visiting Lucy. Did I miss something? I'm just now toward the end of Ch. 8. Anyway, doesn't Mina work? She was learning to type, but that may have been to help Jonathan with his work after they marry?? That was earlier in the book. I loved how he just left Jonathan whereever he is and switched to the relatively ordinary letters & journal entries of Mina & Lucy. It was a calming effect, but only for a short time. Then he brings in the old man, Renfield (how gross is he?!?!), the mystery ship, Lucy's escalation of sleepwalking, even the dog's nervousness at the funeral ... and we're back to feeling unsettled, to say the least!! Great buildup!!


message 39: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) She doesn't work. No wonder- she's a woman and it's 19th c.


message 40: by Rhea (new)

Rhea | 4 comments Grace wrote: "I hope it's ok if I ask a question. What does everyone think of Lucy's sleepwalking? Is it brought on simply by nerves or is there something mysterious behind it?"

I definitely find Lucy's sleepwalking quite mysterious. I wonder why Dracula is drawn to Lucy (or rather the other way round).
I find it bit odd that considering Lucy and Mina's proximity, Dracula seems to have no effect on Mina whatsoever while Lucy is almost completely under his spell. Of course Mina is stronger of the two but wouldn't she be affected a little bit atleast?


message 41: by Gaijinmama (last edited Oct 09, 2010 12:05AM) (new)

Gaijinmama | 10 comments MY impression is that Mina comes from a poorer family and is...not exactly a governess but some sort of companion? Lucy's family is clearly rich and Lucy is rather sheltered, if not exactly an airhead. MIna is much more
practical and level-headed. If she was an orphan with no money of her own I'd imagine she would have to be.
Since well-to-do young women weren't allowed to wander around alone in the 19th century, maybe Lucy's family hired her or anyway sort of adopted her to keep Lucy company. I was struck that when Lucy goes sleepwalking out of the house, Mina is most concerned with hiding their footprints and protecting Lucy's reputation, and keeps the incident absolutely secret. Not only is she worried about her friend, but maybe she is even afraid she'll lose her job if Lucy's reputation is ruined by wandering around outside in her nightgown?!
Renfield is a fascinating character and we don't know much about his background. Has anyone read Renfield: Slave of Dracula by BArbara Hambly? I have it on my TBR shelf.


message 42: by Julia (new)

Julia (jujulia) | 30 comments Gaijinmama wrote: "MY impression is that Mina comes from a poorer family and is...not exactly a governess but some sort of companion? Lucy's family is clearly rich and Lucy is rather sheltered, if not exactly an air..."

Gaijinmama, thanks for mentioning Renfield: Slave of Dracula, this sounds like a swift and entertaining read, and I found Renfield rather fascinating and would like to get deeper into his sick brain. At times, I found him creepier than the vampires, maybe because the blood-sucking is already such a cliché, while his being "zoophagous" (I love the word) is really gruesome and kind of "new" (at least to a non-horror reader like me...).


message 43: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliemoncton) | 31 comments Rhea wrote: "I find it bit odd that considering Lucy and Mina's proximity, Dracula seems to have no effect on Mina whatsoever while Lucy is almost completely under his spell. Of course Mina is stronger of the two but wouldn't she be affected a little bit atleast?"

I think Dracula is targetting Lucy instead of her being the more susceptible female. Anyone have theories on why Lucy is being chosen? Earlier in the book it mentions how healthy and pink she is (good blood flow!). But I was also wondering if there might be a link between Renfield's sessions with Dr. Seward and Lucy being Dracula's prey. Seward pines for Lucy and maybe that image of her is transmitted to Dracula?? Sounds far fetched, but...

Loving the book and trying to catch up with the rest of the discussion!


message 44: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments Paula wrote: "For discussion of chapters 5-8 - potential spoilers!!

Question/Comment for discussion:

At last, we meet Mina and Lucy! There is an interesting dichotomy presented with these two women, who ha..."



message 45: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments Paula wrote: "For discussion of chapters 5-8 - potential spoilers!!

Question/Comment for discussion:

At last, we meet Mina and Lucy! There is an interesting dichotomy presented with these two women, who ha..."



message 46: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments Mina is short for a German name and German is a common language throughout eastern europe. could Mina have east europe parents?
Is Mina protecting Lucy or hiding something?
Lucy sleepwalks, a condition that vampires can bring on others. Who is near enough to Mina day and night.


message 47: by Gaijinmama (new)

Gaijinmama | 10 comments Julie at All Ears wrote: "Rhea wrote: "I find it bit odd that considering Lucy and Mina's proximity, Dracula seems to have no effect on Mina whatsoever while Lucy is almost completely under his spell. Of course Mina is stro..."

I think Mina is a practical, no-nonsense, working-class woman who knows how to take care of herself. Anyway she doesn't come from wealth as Lucy does, and hasn't been as sheltered (and to be blunt, isn't as silly!) Lucy was simply an easier catch to start with, I think.


message 48: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments Marialyce wrote: "I love the "real feel" of this novel. I think the form of the writing makes it so eerily haunting. I don't think it would have packed such a wallop if it it had been the traditional form of novels...."


message 49: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments Using diaries and news clippings keeps the story in the present. There is no hindsight, only the suspense of the present, like real life.


message 50: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments Grace wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "You are right, Maggie. They both seem to go in and out of trances, periods of lucidity and such. Perhaps Dracula is calling to the lower instincts of men/women through their subco..."


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