There’s no way Jonathan Harker could have known what awaited him in Transylvania. Harker was sent on business, to conclude a house purchase for the mysterious Count Dracula. Harker didn’t realize he would be Dracula’s prisoner.
And now, with his new English home, Dracula is heading to England to wreck havoc on the lives of Harker’s love ones.
After I finish reading a classic, especially if the novel has been around for over fifty years, I try to understand why it’s still popular. Why are we still reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula today?
Some reasons are obvious, the figure of Dracula himself is larger than life, and movies kept the character alive for over a hundred years.
The horror, morality, and sexual nature of Dracula has been discussed at length from people way more qualified to tackle such themes. Along with the character of Dracula, I feel like the mixture of those themes also keeps us fascinated with Victorian Gothic tales.
I can see all the reasons why this story has stayed with our culture (which is still obsessed with the morality of sexuality), but sadly all those reasons do not change my opinion of this book.
Although there are really strong parts in Dracula, I felt like the book as a whole was a disappointment. What I wanted the most I got so little of, and that’s Dracula himself.
Some of my favorite books are Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera, where I feel like the lead characters were better used. I was hoping that Dracula would be along the same lines.
In Dracula, the first four chapters were great. Not only was the atmosphere set up well, but the reader got to spend time with Dracula himself. I really wanted to know more about this character as I was simultaneously feeling worried for Jonathan Harker.
But after those chapters, we really don’t spend much time with the Count. Geez, I don’t think we really see him again until a hundred and fifty pages later. The bulk of the novel is focused on the aftermath of what Dracula has done to both Lucy and Mina, our leading ladies.
The narration is all first-person perspective, coming from the diaries and letters of all the main characters. So everything is reactions to what that narrator has seen or witness. This ‘found footage’ feel is nice, but sometimes I just want to be in the action, or maybe have Dracula’s perspective from time to time!?
Frankenstein and The Phantom were also missing throughout sections of their respective books, but I felt like I got to know them as characters more so than Dracula.
I understand that Stoker’s focus was his crazy morality tale, but I still wish he gave us more. To him, the aftermath was more important than the monster, but I think he could have incorporated both elements successfully. In fact, I think more page time with Dracula may have actually helped elevate the rest of the book, including the morality tale.
Along with a lot of repetition that could have been edited down, I just wasn’t sold on the book. I understand why the book has stood the test of time, I just wish I could have gotten more of the King Vamp himself.