Dracula by Bram Stoker – Thoughts on Chapter 4


DAVID SAUNDERSON continues counting down the days until his Transylvanian holiday by reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. Today, he discusses Chapter 4! 

The fourth chapter of Dracula basically revolves around Jonathon Harker realising he may not be long for this world. He knows Dracula is an evil monster, so he is doing all he can to escape Castle Dracula.
Dracula has asked Harker to write pre-dated letters under the pretense that the mail system is bad in Transylvania, so he should send them all at once so his loved ones don’t worry. Harker knows, of course, that this is just a ruse to give the impression that Harker is alive and well when in fact he is a prisoner in Dracula’s castle and will probably be dead soon.
To add to his suspicions, Harker discovers all his belonging missing (which will make it hard for him to escape) and finds Dracula climbing down the walls dressed in his clothing. Harker thinks Dracula is impersonating him so he will take the blame for all the badness the Count brings with him. Harker tries bribing the Szgany, who are the local gypsies, to send a letter for him but they are loyal to their master and give Harker up in an instant.
This was a very tense chapter. Dracula is so passive aggressive it is crazy. He is asking things of Harker that no polite person would ask, but Harker is so frightened to upset him, he won’t say boo. While the Englishman’s cause looks hopeless now, maybe a few more days might give him an idea or opportunity to escape. The end of the chapter is a real cliff hanger.
I am really enjoying Dracula now. It is a long, drawn out book with lots of what seems like irrelevant descriptions and discussion. But I am sure in time, it will all come together. Even the long non-horror-related bits are fun.

Dracula shown climbing down the wall of his castle
Dracula shown climbing down the wall of his castle, from the cover of the first paperback (abridged) edition (1901) of the novel.

What I’ve learned from this chapter:  Dracula really is a bastard. We know he wants to suck your blood (a phrase that is used for the first time in this chapter by Harker), but he is also quite happy to suck the life, reputation and anything else he can from Harker for his gain. I think Dracula has unnecessarily antagonized Harker and could have achieved much more without having to scare the pants off him, but hey, he’s Dracula, I guess he is used to getting his own way.
Favourite Quote: “Monster, give me my child!” from the poor mother screaming and banging on the door of the Castle Dracula demanding the return of her child who Dracula gave to his vampire brides for lunch.

DAVID SAUNDERSON is the founder and managing editor of The Spooky Isles. In the daylight hours, he works in marketing. By night, he organises ghoulish and frightful ghost tours and events with Spooky London.


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