Dracula Chapters 7 and 8 Summary

Stoker uses a newspaper article to narrate this next section of the novel. This is the point where Dracula reaches land, in the midst of a terrible storm. At this juncture, we learn of the vessel's strange method of navigation. Observers think the captain was mad because, in the middle of the storm, the ship's sails were unfurled. As people watch the boat come in, they are shocked to see a corpse, head drooping and swaying, tied to the helm with a crucifix tied around his hands. The man tied to the helm had a bottle with a small piece of paper rolled up inside. When the ship hit land, a huge dog was seen coming up from below, jumping on the deck, and then running off. We can assume that this dog is Dracula. The next newspaper article reports that the vessel was, in fact, Russian and was called the Demeter. The only cargo found on the boat was "a ballast of silver sand" and "mould." The article also revealed that a mastiff had been viciously attacked; it was found with its throat torn out and its belly ripped open.

Stoker then choses to use the Demeter's log to continue his narration. In this way, we learn that the men believed there was something on that ship. The log begins on July 6th. First we are told that a sailor goes missing (July 16), and then, someone reports seeing a tall, thin man aboard the ship (July 17). When the men did an inspection of the ship, no one was found. The ship passes through Gibraltar with no issues. All is well until the 24th of July when another man goes missing. The remaining crew members become anxious and panic begins to set in. By the 30th, only two crew members, the captain, and his mate are left. On August 2nd another man disappears, soon after the other crew member disappears. The mate, who is going mad with fear, and the captain are left alone aboard the Demeter. The first mate declares, "It is here." He says that he saw a man the previous night, tall and "ghastly pale;" and when he came up behind him with his knife, it just went through him. He then rushes below the deck only to run back up shortly afterward screaming and terrified. He tells the captain "He is there. I know the secret now." Frantic with fear, the first man tells the captain to come with him. He says that the sea will save him from the horrible evil on the ship. Before the captain could react, the mate deliberately throws himself overboard. The captain, feeling that it is his duty to stay with the ship, ties himself to the helm with a crucifix in his hands. It is here that the journal ends. This ship holds the cargo that Jonathan saw while at Dracula's castle. Dracula himself is in one of these boxes. The raging storm, howling dogs, and events that occurred on the ship all symbolize the approaching evil that is Dracula. It is clear that Dracula is tied to the natural and unnatural things that are occurring at Whitby such as the storm

The narration switches back to Mina and the day of the storm. Lucy is still sleepwalking and Mina waits to hear from Jonathan. On August 10th, Mina writes about the burial of the sea captain. The reader also learns about Mr. Swales death; he was found in his usual seat near the graveyard. His neck was broken and the doctor says that he seems to have "fallen back into his seat with fright." Mina also states that Lucy is much improved, but she is woken at 3:00 a.m. with a dreadful feeling and finds that Lucy's bed is empty. She searches for Lucy, and eventually throws a shawl around herself to go check their favorite place; the seat Mr. Swales used to sit on. When Mina looks toward the bench, she sees the "snowy figure" of Lucy reclined on the bench. She also sees a dark figure leaning over Lucy. Mina was frightened and called to her; when she did, she saw something "long and black... [and] the thing raised a head [and had] a white face and red, gleaming eyes." When Mina approaches Lucy she sees that she is alone and appears to be sleeping although her breathing is labored. Seeing Lucy shudder, she wraps her shawl around her neck and pins it. Mina takes Lucy home and sees two puncture marks on her friend's neck. She believes that these two marks came from an accidental pinprick. Before going back to sleep, Lucy begs Mina not to tell anyone of the incident. In the morning, Lucy looks well but Mina admonishes herself for pricking Lucy's neck. Lucy merely laughs it off. The next night, Mina notes that she tried to leave the room twice. In the morning, Mina describes her as looking quite well.

On August 13th, Mina finds Lucy sitting up in bed, dazed and pointing at the window. When Mina walks over to take a look, she sees a black bat flying about in the moonlight. It flies off, startled by Mina's appearance. At sunset the next evening, Lucy remarks, 'His red eyes again! They are just the same." When Mina looks in the direction Lucy is staring, she sees a dark figure seated on their favorite bench. She notes that the figure's eyes were like "burning flames." They say nothing about this event to each other afterward.

The following evening Mina goes out for a walk and, upon her return, sees Lucy leaning out of the bedroom window; she didn't take notice to Mina. Something that looked like a "good-sized bird" was sitting next to Lucy, and she appeared to be sleeping. After running to the bedroom in a panic, Mina finds Lucy asleep in her bed with her hand to her throat, however she looks pale, sickly and weak once more. She sleeps late the next morning, and Mrs. Westerna (Lucy's mother) informs Mina that, due to her heart condition, she only has a few months to live.

Mina is in very poor spirits due to Lucy's declining condition and Jonathan's lack of communication. Despite eating well and exercising, Lucy continues to wake at night gasping for air. When Mina inspects the puncture wounds on Lucy's neck, she sees they are looking worse-like "little white dots with red centers." A few days later Mina notes that Lucy has improved in her condition, and spends much of her time thinking about Arthur, her fiancé. She tells Mina that her bouts of sleepwalking feel like a dream to her, but she vaguely recalls "...something long and dark with red eyes... and something very sweet and very bitter all around... sinking into green deep water." She goes on to say that her "soul seemed to go out from [her] body and float about in the air [and there was a] sort of agonizing feeling" before Mina woke her. The Count is clearly responsible for Lucy's bouts of "sleepwalking" as well as her weakened condition. He is a force from the wild, eastern regions penetrating Victorian life. Dracula is not only symbolic of evil, but of social disruption and chaos.

In another letter dated August 17th, we learn that a Mr. S. F. Billington orders the boxes of earth be delivered to Carfax near London.

On August 19th Mina gets a letter from Sister Agatha in Budapest, which says that Jonathan has been hospitalized due to brain fever. This correspondence also says that his illness is quite serious, so Mina prepares to go to Jonathan. Stoker's method of narrating through letters, diaries, medical journals, and newspaper clippings serves to make his wild story more believable. Stoker does not reveal the method by which Jonathan escapes, but the reader now knows he did so.

Next, in Seward's diary, it is revealed that Renfield has undergone a drastic personality shift. During periods of excitement, he acts as if he were a caged animal. He tells Seward that the "master is at hand." Seward determines that Renfield is going through some sort of "religious mania." Stoker perverts traditional Christian mythology with Renfield's actions and words. The flies, spiders, and other pets no longer have his attention. Renfield escapes and goes to Carfax, the same place that Dracula's boxes of earth are being delivered. The attendants and Seward follow Renfield only to see him pressed against a large door as if he were speaking to someone on the other side. Renfield calls him "master" and accepts that he is his slave. The attendants return him to his cell where he says he will wait patiently (for his master).

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