Dracula. By Bram Stoker. (1897). ISBN-10:0099511223 (Pbk).

Plot Summary

When Johnathan Harker is asked to travel to Transylvania to provide counsel for Count Dracula, it doesn’t take long before he begins to notice something quite peculiar  about his host. After a while, Harker learns that he is imprisoned by Dracula, unable even to get a letter out to his beloved fiance, Mina.

Meanwhile, Mina is caught up in the exciting courtship of her best friend and confidante, Lucy. Little do they know that the misfortune which has befallen Johnathan will soon claim them all, as well.

Lucy finds herself surrounded by available suitors, including one dark and mysterious stranger who yearns for her neck.

Afterwards, Lucy suddenly becomes quite ill, despite the attempts by Van Helsing to transfuse her blood and stop the horrific change overcoming her. Van Helsing leads  those suitors in a quest to completely destroy her, once her vampiric nature is known. Only one thing can save Mina and the others from the horrors of Dracula, but will Van Helsing and Johnathan find the answer before it is too late for all?
Critical Evaluation
Although it was written in 1897, Dracula is perhaps one of the best-liked vampire tales ever written. Told in a series of letters, Dracula is about a manipulative monster and our heroes’ trials against him. Many details of vampire myth become apparent through the reading of Johnathan Harker’s diary, such as the reflection which cannot be seen in a mirror, and the demonic change of Dracula’s features at the sight of blood. The diary and letter format is an interesting technical device, though the story’s characters can be difficult to keep track of, as a result.

Just as Twilight became a favorite of many in the current decade, Dracula was extremely popular in its time, and has remained so through today, where it has largely influenced everything from the gothic horror literary genre, to film and television. “Through the years Count Dracula, the most filmed character in history after Sherlock Holmes, has grown younger, sensitive, and more handsome. Once film-makers had emphasized the connection between blood and sex, the Stokerian vampire achieved icon status (Belford, 2004).” Interesting how history repeats itself! Twilight shares many similar aspects as Dracula, these many years later.

Reader’s Annotation

Johnathan Harker knows that there is something peculiar about his host and business partner, Dracula. But what can he do when the old monster pits himself against everyone whom Johnathan loves? A must for fans of gothic horror!

About the Author
Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1847. His father worked at Dublin Castle, and Stoker followed him there after finishing college at Trinity College Dublin. As a child, Stoker was sick and bedridden until the age of seven, but grew into a tall man who had an interest in acting and was called to the Bar in London, England. He worked as a drama critic where he met the actor Henry Irving, who is said to have inspired the looks and mannerisms of the character of Dracula.

Stoker’s first published work was a novella entitled ‘The Primrose Path’, which appeared in The Shamrock in 1875. He began work on Dracula in 1890, which was first published in 1897. Stoker went on to write 10 more books, one of which was credited as starting “the cult of the mummy” story, however, none has remained as famous as Bram Stoker’s Dracula(Belford, 2004).

Genre

-Horror

-Classics

-YA/Adult Crossover
Curriculum Ties

-English Literature
Booktalking Ideas

– History of Gothic Horror, including Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley.

-Vampire literature and myth
Reading Level/Interest Age

16+
Challenge Issues

Again, books dealing with the occult or monsters are always at risk of being challenged. Here though, the vampire is not a romantic option in a teenager’s wild dreams. He is the antagonist, and he represents old evil. The book does include some gory moments, but it is essentially a classic tale, much like Frankenstein, so it does have historical merit. Bram wrote it to symbolize his fears of the coming century and of humanity(Belford, 2004).
Why Did You Include This Book?

Teens who love vampires, but are tiring of the recent romantic interpretations of the genre, may find themselves intrigued by what started it all.

References

Belford, B. (2004). ‘Stoker, Abraham (1847–1912)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. Retrieved December 6th, 2010 from http://www.oxforddnb.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/view/article/38012. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/38012

Read Dracula online at Project Gutenberg! http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/345

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About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
This entry was posted in Classics, Vampires, YA/Adult Crossover. Bookmark the permalink.

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