I have just finished reading Dracula, and my goodness, do I have to write about it or go crazy with the tumult it has left my mind in. As you read this mostly spoiler-free recommendation, I leave the decision up to you whether you will risk sleepless nights and peering fearfully at shadows for the duration it takes you to finish this engrossing book or simply remain ignorant of what it feels like to have the hairs all over your body standing on edge and miss an extraordinarily well written piece of literature.
Summary and Characters
Dracula was written by Bram Stoker and published in 1897. Set in Victorian, logical England and backwards, very superstitious Transylvania, the stark contrast between the two settings along with the descriptions afforded by the characters are vivid to the point where you cannot, and I mean can NOT put the book down.
It is written in a epistolary form, which only adds to it’s unique narrative and pulls you in all the more. Excerpts from the characters’ journals, printings of telegrams and the pasting of newspaper clippings are all arranged so that one almost feels as if the evidence was all piled up, arranged in chronological order, and handed to the reader in such a way to prove that this was all a real event–which leaves peoples of vivid imaginations with an unsettled feeling in the pit of their stomachs.
The main characters are a group of people joined together in their mutual quest to destroy the terror which haunts their lives: Count Dracula. Four brave men with delphic chivalry, one young woman with nerves of steel, plus a genius of a Dutchman whose leadership, knowledge and skill in the group’s hunt for the vampire makes him the favorite of all who pick up the book.
Other characters include a madman whose reason returns a little too late, an innocent, lovely young woman whose happiness may or may not be ruined by the appearance of a vampire, and a trio of undead sisters whose thirst for human blood makes them a terror in their land of Transylvania.
How I Discovered Dracula
During this nigh-on three month quarantine, my father has been ordering books that my siblings or I never would have picked up of our own accord; books such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Beowulf, and yes, Dracula (my dad is also planning to get Frankenstein, which based on it’s description, I am not too keen on consuming). If you know me, you understand that I do not like thrillers, horrors or monster stories very much. You also understand that I do not like to be outdone or out-read by my siblings.
My younger brother, who happens to be a voracious reader after his older siblings hearts, picked Dracula up first, finished it within a few days, and immediately began raving about how phenomenal it was. My older brother was convinced, and within a day or so, he too had read Dracula, and accompanied my little brother in his cajolery for me to join their ranks of reading this thriller.
Despite my trust in their taste of literature, I hesitated. Dare I read such a book, that seems so dark? I mean it is about a vampire for Pete’s sake of course it is going to be sinister and foreboding, but the question I asked myself was: do I want to be eternally afraid of the dark and shriek at every shadow that crosses my path? (Vivid imaginations will do that to you).
But at last, in the words of my impish younger brother, I was “nagged into reading it,” and was captivated from chapter one to the end. It certainly has it’s dark moments, and whilst reading it you are petrified of being alone, especially at night. But, after you finished it, those sensations (mostly) dissipate and you are left with the memory of a most mesmerizing experience of interactions with a vampire. It all goes to show that one cannot judge a book by it’s cover. Perhaps I will read Frankenstein after all…
My Impression Overall
Dracula is a pulse quickening, sanity-teasing, terrifically written piece of fiction which portrays true manhood, the power of faith in God winning over evil, and the stark horror and evilness of vampires. Movies such as Hotel Transylvania have made the name Dracula a joke, his need to consume human blood a fickle matter, and in essence show the very evilest creation of human imagination as something to be approved of and celebrated.
Do you know what the holiday of Halloween actually is? Supposedly, it is the night where all the evil creatures of the universe–witches and demons and monsters and zombies and vampires and politicians (kidding!)–emerge from their evil lairs and are free for the night to lay waste and consume souls to their heart’s delight, so people have come up with the genius idea of dressing up in costumes to “disguise themselves” so the evil creatures leave them alone. Thus, on Halloween night, your neighborhood is filled with dozens of children dressing up in costumes, tripping around receiving candy and celebrating being an “evil creature” for the night. You’d see the cute costumes, like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, or a homemade astronaut’s suit, but then you see little children dressed up as devils, and mummies…and as vampires.
Dracula is a demon, not something to be laughed at or mimicked even in the most innocent forms. In the book, Dracula cannot enter a victim’s home unless welcomed in by one of the inmates. Now let me ask you a question: Is dressing up as the demon and celebrating him as a protagonist in movies barring this terror from your hearts and homes?
Dracula is not something to be trifled with, he is not an Adam Sandler creation that says “bleh bleh bleh” and goes around on a quest to bring a human into his family. He is a demon that penetrates the purest souls and turns them as foul as he is, a menace that preys on young children and innocent women, a sinister being that will stop at nothing to achieve his ends.
Ranting aside, Dracula is well worth the initial terror to read, for the protagonists are seeking to destroy the vampire, and rely heavily on God’s goodness to see them through. And that is a lesson we can all do well to heed as we go through life vampire-less thanks to the bravery of these courageous souls—wait, oh right, it is only fiction…