It’s time for “Writer Wednesday” when I discuss another author and his or her book. For October’s posts, I will be discussing some seasonal classics.
After suffering from childhood sickness, Bram Stoker once said, “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” Dracula, in its construction and themes, can be read as the spreading of illness or disease.
Illness often starts from afar, infecting others, until it winds itself around an individual. In Dracula, the story begins in Transylvania, far from the story’s life in England. Through newspapers and letters, the tale grows and news of Dracula comes closer. This is akin to hearing about sick relatives. In the carriage, the line “For the dead travel fast,” signifies the rapid spread of disease. Even the house that Dracula acquires, Carfax Abbey, “is four sided, agreeing with the cardinal points of the compass,” which again alludes to the spread of disease from a deadly center.
|Bela Lugosi as Dracula|
Throughout Dracula, blood (a sign of both health and disease) features. It is what the disease (Dracula) thrives on and signifies life itself. When sickness comes, people pray and religion is used as a defense against Dracula. The crucifix is also frequently seen in places of sickness- hospitals, bed sides, and cemeteries. Likewise garlic, that Lucy’s mouth is stuffed with, is used to treat illness. Also, symptoms including a haziness of disease, are recorded through the visions and noises that are experienced by those affected.
In the end, disease can only be overcome when it’s gone from England and hunted down where it came from. Only then, the disease and Dracula are defeated. After a long drawn out fight against Dracula, the book ends (rather abruptly) with a tacked on mention of Harker’s and Mina’s son. While it seems abrupt when read merely as plot, it is necessary when the book is read as a tale against disease because, it highlights the triumph of life.
My best to you all,