Dracula Chapters 17 and 19 Summary

Seward's diary takes over the narration here and we learn about his first meeting with Mina. Mina will go to Seward's asylum as his guest. Once there, Mina talks Seward into allowing her to transcribe his journal. Seward reads Mina's journal as well.

The following day, September 30th, Jonathan arrives and Seward commends him on his bravery. Seward finally realizes that Dracula may be right next door. He also notes that Renfield has been calm and wonders if Dracula's proximity has been playing a part in the patient's moods. Jonathan finds out that the 50 boxes of earth sent by Dracula has bee delivered to the chapel at Carfax. What the men don't know is that Dracula has sent some of the other boxes to different locations.

Arthur Holmwood (now called Lord Godelming) and Quincy Morris arrive and Mina notes that she is happy to see Jonathan so strong and resolute. At this point, all of the protagonists are together for the first time in the story.

In chapter 18 Mina asks to see Renfield. He "tidies up" by swallowing the flies and spiders in his room. He then goes on to have a rational conversation with Mina.

It is in this chapter that we learn of Van Helsing's knowledge of the "undead" or "nasferatu." 1. They cannot die 2. They can be as strong as 20 men 3. They can control the elements (storms, wind, fog, etc.) 4. They can control the bat, owl, rat, wolf, fox, and dog 5. They can shrink or grow large at will 6. They can vanish at times 7.They can appear in different forms. They men try to figure out how to beat this monster and gather up all their knowledge. Van Helsing tells the men that vampires are known all over the world and lists the things he knows about them: The undead cannot die by time passing; he needs the blood of humans to thrive; feeding on blood makes the vampire younger; blood also serves to heal him; it can't survive without blood but; it can go long periods of time without feeding; it has no shadow and no reflection in a mirror; it can change into an animal form or as mist; it can travel on the moon's rays as elemental dust; it sees fine in the dark, and it can become small enough to fit through cracks and crevices. The vampire also has limitations: It cannot enter a household unless summoned first; it loses power with daylight; it stays in whatever form it's in until sunset; vampires must returned to the hallowed ground of their coffins because it revives them; they despise garlic; the wafer, the host, the crucifix and holy water are anathemas; when a wild rose is placed on it it cannot move; it is killed by a wooden stake through the heart, a mouthful of garlic and its head cut off. There are few people privy to the information regarding the vampires and their behaviors. This is a typical gothic element that serves to isolate certain characters.

On October 1st the men listen to Renfield's plea to be released immediately. He sounds completely rational and sane, but he is denied. The thing of note here is that Renfield makes the men question whether or not he is, in fact, sane. The assumption is that Renfield, when free from Dracula's power, is a sane man. At this point he may realize that if he is not released, he may die on behalf of his slavery to the Count.

The men then go over to the chapel and find only 27 boxes of earth. All of a sudden a swarm of rats (Dracula's doing, of course) comes into the chapel.

The men, saying that Mina is too gentle (weak) to hear of their activities, leave her ignorant of their plans. She notes that she was awakened one night by strange sounds at her window. She also says she is quite lethargic. She is also uncertain as to whether or not she saw a poor man wanting her to let him in. This dreamlike state is typical of gothic literature. Mina does say that her bedroom window was open even though she remembers shutting it before going to bed. She also has memories (which seem like dreams) of red eyes in the dark. Through dramatic irony, we are aware that she is Dracula's next victim, but Mina does not yet recognize what is happening to her. Another interesting fact to consider at this point is that Van Helsing said vampires may not enter the premises without being invited. The implication is that Mina 's actions allowed his entrance.

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