Saturday Summary: Dracula

Dracula is one of those classics that I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. It’s also one of those stories that seems to be more well-known for its film adaptations. In fact, at the time of its publication it wasn’t as popular as it is now.

The author of Dracula, Bram Stoker was more well-known for his connection to the actor, Henry Irving than for his books at the time. It wasn’t until Dracula was made into movies that it started to gain popularity.

Dracula

I’ve never seen a Dracula film but I have to say that I really loved the book.

There are a few reasons for this but one of the main ones is that Dracula is one of the better classics that I’ve read. For a classic, I found it pretty suspenseful and fast-moving in terms of plot. The writing style was typical of a classic but it had a much darker and gloomier quality than I was used to with other books. Suffice to say that I absolutely loved Stoker’s eloquent writing style.

The structure of the book was interesting as well. I was very surprised to read in reviews beforehand that the book is compiled of a series of letters, memoranda, news clippings, telegrams and diary entries with many different narrators. This structure didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and I think I actually preferred it over a single narrator.

I especially loved the characters of Mina Harker and Dr. Van Helsing. One theme throughout is the role of females: the female ideal and female suppression of sexuality during the Victorian Era. At that time, the female ideal was a pure, innocent woman but Dracula challenges that idea by turning both Mina and her friend Lucy into vampires, making them “wanton” in their expression of themselves. During the Victorian age, there was this complex where women could only be saintly or immoral. It’s been said that Mina functions as a two-dimensional example of this polarizing idea but I disagree.

I found Mina to be a very liberating character. More than once, Dr. Van Helsing and the other men (her husband Jonathan included) make remarks about her clever thinking or her good virtues. This seems more like praise to me than anything else, although I’m aware that virtuous women like this were put on a pedestal during the Victorian age. Despite this, I thought Stoker crafted a strong and admirable female character that was in no way two-dimensional.

Dr. Van Helsing was another character I enjoyed. At first, his broken English was jarring but I realized that he’s perfectly in-character because he’s a Dutchman. I’ve seen a few different depictions of Van Helsing: one in the TV show Penny Dreadful (where I feel like he should have gotten much more recognition and screen time) and the other in the movie Van Helsing, played by Hugh Jackman. I was really interested to get a sense of the original Van Helsing, who is an older gentleman with a kind manner.

Another part of Dracula I loved were the many different themes: life vs. death, reason vs. mysticism and insanity vs. sanity. There is a lot of reference to death and the afterlife with elements of redemption and hope. Even Mina herself has compassion for Dracula, even though the men think he’s past the point of redemption and redemption is one of those themes I love in stories.

Dracula was dark and suspenseful, captivating me with its beautiful detail and keeping me on edge with its chilling events. I gave this one a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Dracula will definitely go down as a favourite.

 

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6 thoughts on “Saturday Summary: Dracula

  1. Hemangini says:

    I have been searching for a decent copy of this novel and now I will have to strengthen my search.. I have seen many different Dracula movies but none seems to satisfy my mind. Maybe I need to read the book only. Wonderful review, now I just want to grab the book and read to be thrilled.

    • creativewriter says:

      Interesting. I’ve never seen any Dracula films. Are they unsatisfying because they’re not creepy? I’ve heard Nosferatu is quite creepy haha. 🙂 Thank you, I really enjoyed the book and it had me a little creeped out for a while 😀

      • Hemangini says:

        The movies are creepy enough with all the blood and teeth digging into necks+the nudity(at times)… But I prefer the written version more if there is one.. It’s fun to read and see it happening in the head… Does that make me sound creepy? lol

  2. firefly1824 says:

    I really enjoyed the style of the book with the letters, diaries, etc., when reading it, and am beginning to think I should read it again. As far as movies, Dracula from 1931 has always been my favorite, even though it varies significantly from the book. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Gary Oldman et al.) was also very well done, but it is also definitely modern, a bit flashy, and has nudity.

    • creativewriter says:

      I really liked the style of the book as well–I think it gives the reader insight that even multiple POVs wouldn’t. I should check out the Dracula movies, especially the 1931 you’re talking about to see how I like it. Interesting–the only thing close to an adaptation I’ve seen of Dracula has been his character, played by Christian Camargo in Penny Dreadful. So far, I think it’s a pretty good representation of Dracula but he’s a little young-looking for my taste but I suppose the character of Dracula is ageless and immortal anyway. Thanks for your thoughts on this! 🙂

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