Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bite-Sized Blogging: Dracula (Chapters 11 & 12)

15 October.


It occurs to me that while it's neat, the way in which Stoker cuts around in narratives to tease out new suspenses (how will this escaped wolf play into things? what delayed this crucial telegram?), he has lost the immediacy of those first few chapters, those isolated descriptions and strong voice. Everybody sounds the same now, high-literate and overflowing with descriptions, from Lucy quoting Ophelia to Seward's bland recitation of plot, from Patrick Hennessey's report to Mina's letters to Lucy (the saddest thing so far is the tragic subscript for these: "Unopened by her"). Most egregious of all, the "Pall Mall Gazette" and its rather loose editorial standards, that it should phonetically reprint such awful accents.

Under these conditions, I find it much harder to care for Lucy's struggle, and less so for her mother's death. I find it harder, too, to understand Dracula: while we know that he likes to play with his victims, it seems absurd that he would need to break a domesticated wolf out of the zoo in order to have *it* shatter the window of a house--a house that he has obviously already broken into, in order to dose the wine with laudanum. I suppose one could read into the Count's battering and flapping at the windows as a sort of courtship, and he's obviously obsessed with her, but come now: he's not even drinking her blood any more, he's just using her as a glorified goblet of globins.

There is little else to say; the plot moves now as briskly as the undead--that is, it is lifeless.

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