Posts Tagged ‘mina harker’

In my first post about Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the book!), I discussed the mysterious evil of Dracula and how the men were men and women were women. I want to wrap up my thoughts on this book by mentioning two more things: a sovereign God and Van Helsing’s motivating speech in the middle of the book.

Inherent trust in a sovereign God

For so surely as we live, that scar shall pass away when God sees right to lift the burden that is hard upon us. Till then we bear our Cross, as His Son did in obedience to His Will. It may be that we are chosen instruments of His good pleasure, and that we ascend to His bidding as that other through stripes and shame. Through tears and blood. Through doubts and fear, and all that makes the difference between God and man. – Van Helsing

I appreciated the god centeredness of this book. There is an inherent trust these characters have in God, an understanding of His hand in all things, and a belief in His goodness. They know when it comes down to the end their only hope in the timing and their plan coming together to defeat Dracula rests in the hand of God.

Poor Mina told me just now, with the tears running down her dear cheeks, that it is in trouble and trial that our faith is tested. That we must keep on trusting, and that God will aid us up to the end. The end! Oh my God! What end? . . . To work! To work! – Jonathan Harker

Van Helsing’s rousing speech

I could go on to discuss Van Helsing’s amazing character or the theme of mystery, but I want to leave you one more passage, my personal favorite. This passage is the tail end of a speech from Van Helsing to the others as they formulate a plan to defeat Dracula. He has explained in my initial quote in part 1 who and what Dracula is and now shifts to the cost. It gets me fired up – their choice, their unity, and their resolve to fight evil.

How then are we to begin our strike to destroy him? How shall we find his where, and having found it, how can we destroy? My friends, this is much, it is a terrible task that we undertake, and there may be consequence to make the brave shudder. For if we fail in this our fight he must surely win, and then where end we? Life is nothings, I heed him not. But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut, for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all, a blot on the face of God’s sunshine, an arrow in the side of Him who died for man. But we are face to face with duty, and in such case must we shrink? For me, I say no, but then I am old, and life, with his sunshine, his fair places, his song of birds, his music and his love, lie far behind. You others are young. Some have seen sorrow, but there are fair days yet in store. What say you?” Whilst he was speaking, Jonathan had taken my hand. I feared, oh so much, that the appalling nature of our danger was overcoming him when I saw his hand stretch out, but it was life to me to feel its touch, so strong, so self reliant, so resolute. A brave man’s hand can speak for itself, it does not even need a woman’s love to hear its music. When the Professor had done speaking my husband looked in my eyes, and I in his, there was no need for speaking between us. “I answer for Mina and myself,” he said. “Count me in, Professor,” said Mr. Quincey Morris, laconically as usual. “I am with you,” said Lord Godalming, “for Lucy’s sake, if for no other reason.” Dr. Seward simply nodded. The Professor stood up and, after laying his golden crucifix on the table, held out his hand on either side. I took his right hand, and Lord Godalming his left, Jonathan held my right with his left and stretched across to Mr. Morris. So as we all took hands our solemn compact was made. I felt my heart icy cold, but it did not even occur to me to draw back. We resumed our places, and Dr. Van Helsing went on with a sort of cheerfulness which showed that the serious work had begun. It was to be taken as gravely, and in as businesslike a way, as any other transaction of life.

Read this book and you will enjoy it. It is saturated with goodness, a healthy perspective of evil, and the gospel wrapped up in the sacrifice of these characters and God’s hand in giving them victory. The last quarter of the book will leave you breathless.

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Given the vampire movies, and books beyond the insane over the past 20-30 years with a focus on vampires as either the cool guys, Dr Evil types obsessed with world domination, gang members, or emo teens, this book was not even close to what I expected. I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had wanted to read the original, this 1896 masterpiece, but I still did not have a clue as to what to expect. Forget all that you have ever seen in a vampire movie or book in our lifetime, Stoker’s Dracula does not compare.

Dracula as a powerful and mysterious evil

The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command; he is brute, and more than brute; he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not; he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small; and he can at times vanish and come unknown.

Dracula is written as a series of letters from one character to another or as a character’s journal entry. It makes for change from the norm as you get each character’s perspective as they walk through these events and their eventual quest to defeat Dracula. This perspective only adds to the evil and mystery of Count Dracula. He is no joke and barely even human in this book. You get to know him first through the eyes of Jonathan Harker but from that point on, he is more of a dark foreboding shadow. He is everywhere and he is nowhere. He is cunning and powerful and yet limited by his condition. How did he come to be? How old is he? We’re never certain. But he is a sheer force of relentless and remorseless evil, more of a demon or beast than a man. Dracula is no Edward or Louis or even Lestat for that matter. Once certain things happen and the professor, Dr. Van Helsing, connects the pieces of who and what Dracula is, there is only one choice – to find a way to destroy him.

He [Dracula] can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell.

Men being men and women being women

“And now for you, Madam Mina, this night is the end until all be well. You are too precious to us to have such risk. When we part tonight, you no more must question. We shall tell you all in good time. We are men and are able to bear, but you must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are.” All the men, even Jonathan, seemed relieved, but it did not seem to me good that they should brave danger and, perhaps lessen their safety, strength being the best safety, through care of me, but their minds were made up, and though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me. – Mina Harker

I went with the party to the search with an easy mind, for I think I never saw Mina so absolutely strong and well. I am so glad that she consented to hold back and let us men do the work. Somehow, it was a dread to me that she was in this fearful business at all, but now that her work is done, and that it is due to her energy and brains and foresight that the whole story is put together in such a way that every point tells, she may well feel that her part is finished, and that she can henceforth leave the rest to us. – Jonathan Harker

Count Dracula is really not even the central focus of this book. The central focus on the book is the group of men and women who band together to destroy him; risking their lives, their own humanity, their loved ones, and their sanity. Men being noble, fighting, wise, empathetic, courageous risk takers honoring and protecting wise, beautiful, sweet, nurturing, supportive, trusting, fighting, courageous, and submissive yet not passive women. This is a fantastic story in how Stoker does not water down evil nor water down courage & goodness. I loved it. After finishing reading this book, I watched the trailer for the 1992 Hollywood version of Dracula based on this book as well reading some reviews. I was not surprised. They seem to just take out the genuine love and nobility of these characters. The 1992 movie makes Dracula the main focus and tries to give him motivation and make him more human and humane. Dracula in Stoker’s book made my hair stand up. I doubt I would feel that way seeing the movie version. On top of that, it looks like they just added a ton of sex and innuendo that’s not even in the book apart from the simple metaphor. Lucy, Mina, Jonathan, Van Helsing, Godalming, Quincey, and Seward are characters you are rooting for, and pulling for. You feel their loss. You feel their sacrifice and reasonable fear. You feel the darkness pressing in as they do.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the theme of a sovereign God in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and show my favorite passage.

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