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ConnieAnnKirk
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DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

[ Edited ]

This month, we'll give readers the opportunity to comment in sections of the book.  Please keep discussion to no plot points later than Chapter 7 in this thread.

 

Thanks!

Message Edited by ConnieK on 06-01-2009 04:01 PM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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marciliogq
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I'm the first one to comment here.wow! Well, I loved the first chapters of Dracula. The style is very descriptive and full of details. Loved Dracula's description and the scary atmosphere while Jonathan Harker is being conducted to the castle. Some of the future events are anticipated in the first chapters, for example, the place where Dracula's coffin is buried is exactly in the same estate he tells Harker he, Dracula, wants to buy.

The book rises a lot the sensitivity, the senses. Tastes of the food Harker eats. The visual of castle and views in the path. Fear and other strange feelings...

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maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

The picture of the landscape at Dracula's castle is one of beauty and total isolation. You can just see this edifice perched on a mountain with cliffs and the windows seemingly hanging in space. Certainly not a place one could escape from. Yvonne
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marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008

Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I specially liked the metaphor of the mousetrap in the end of chapter 2 and beginning of 3. The scene that describes Harker's despair to find any possibility of escaping the castle is great!

 

 


maude40 wrote:

 

 

The picture of the landscape at Dracula's castle is one of beauty and total isolation. You can just see this edifice perched on a mountain with cliffs and the windows seemingly hanging in space. Certainly not a place one could escape from. Yvonne


 

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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

What do you think of the method of storytelling used in the novel so far?  The "documents," etc.?  Does it make it seem more real?  Spooky?
~ConnieAnnKirk




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marciliogq
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

Well, ConnieK, I think for a long time documents were used as forms of literature and if we think that people confuse literature with imaginative documents so we can realize that the storytelling through documents can be still part of fiction. Mainly if we consider that even the History is part of narrator's subjectivity. In Dracula we have isolated parts of the story in a fragmented way, different points of view. Firstly, we have Harker's diary and his fears and frightening towards the Count. The way things are described, told, narrated are according to his point of view. We don't even know things through Dracula's point of view. May be we could have another story. Even Dracula's speech are reproduced by Harker. The same with Mina. Diaries are, in my opinion, documents which represent a very specific way of seeing things around writer's world. And as literature concept is surrounded by ideologic values, as Terry Eagleton said in his book Theory of literature: an introduction, some can consider these diaries purely literature and it can be a horror only produced fictionaly, what may be can't cause any kind of fear decharacterizing it as a scary story. But others can consider the use of documents an important form of expressing the singularities of the space which would make the story more real and spooky than it'd commonly look.

 

 


ConnieK wrote:

 

 

What do you think of the method of storytelling used in the novel so far?  The "documents," etc.?  Does it make it seem more real?  Spooky?

~ConnieK

 

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chad
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Fact and fiction- I think I can sweeten the pot a little

I am currently on hiatus, but one interesting question the book raises is,  "Are vampires real?" Did vampirism once exist in the past or are there real cases of vampirism in the present? And more abstractly: Are the letters fact or fiction? Or is fiction merely a force which emanates from fact? 

 

Have a good summer!

Chad

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marciliogq
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Re: Fact and fiction- I think I can sweeten the pot a little

Are vampires and wolfmen real, I ask you as well? The same about gnomes, witches (as we think flying on brooms) and other myths and folklore characters. Are they real or invention? In what extent fiction is only imaginative? If fiction is made of language and most of the things we convention as "things" are truly  "words" how can we define something as "concrete, real" if even the concept of "reality" is abstract?

The little information I have about vampirism is close to dogs and wolves in a region of Romenia if I'm not cheated on. These animals had accesses of anger and people attacked by them were sensitive to garlic and light (photophobia). Perhaps because this people have created the Dracula's legend and his blood taste.

Fact or fiction? Perhaps historians and researchers can respond your answer better than me. But I can forward you that even facts, that we imagine "real" are created according to the viewer's subjectivity.

"All life is a kind of fiction"

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brendi
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

The use of documents lends and air of anticipation to the story.  Having to wait days to receive new news would be maddening! I loved that Jonathan's letters to Mina were written in thier special shorthand. His fear of being in the castle was palpable and the need to share it with someone was keen - although he remained "proper" in trying to spare Mina the fright of the real details.
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Judie-Beth
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I think that use of documents and letters is accurate of the time period the story takes place in, but personally I find it really hard to read. I was disappointed with the first few chapters of the book, it was just too slow for me. I didn't start to get into the story until maybe Chapter 5 or so. 

 

I haven't found the book terribly spooky at all, but like I mentioned earlier, I won't read it after dark!  

 

As to the question of whether vampires or werewolves exist, I don't think so, but one can never be certain.  

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igonzafn
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-12-2008

Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I personally think the first few chapters of the book are the most interesting and entertaining . So descriptive with the scenerio and atmosphere it definetly is spooky. The whole diary point of view is interesting. Its purpose could of been to make you feel as if you came upon an actual diary, makes it feel as if the events were real and making it more disturbig. That's my take on it....
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willowy
Posts: 148
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I thought the first few chapters were interesting as well. I wasn't sure what to expect reading Dracula...when discussing the fact that I'm reading Dracula with friends I usually got people talking about it with a dismissive tone! Perhaps some look down on the "horror" genre or look at it as a lesser classic, but I've found it interesting to read one of these pioneering books of the genre.  

  I've also enjoyed the use of "documents", I think it adds something creepy to the tone of the book by making it all seem real. While we doubt that vampires exist, the use of documents could lend to the idea that perhaps they once existed.

-----------Willowy----------
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dulcinea3
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I think that the use of documents to tell the story makes it seem more realistic, even more so than if it were simply a first-person narration.  With a narration, the narrator is still deliberately telling the story, and could make things up or distort them.  However, few people would have any reason to try to fool themselves by not being entirely truthful in a diary, which is generally meant either for their own eyes only, or as a truthful record of what happened in case anything happens to them and someone else ends up reading it to find out what happened.  The letters between characters could be truthful, or could contain distortions of the truth; I think we have to judge those by what we know of the characters and their relationships to one another.

 

Too bad that the villagers who gave Harker the various 'gifts' didn't explain how to use them!  I notice, for example, that he was given garlic, but I doubt that he knows about its protective properties (even if he had known from the beginning that Dracula was a vampire).  At least he did have the crucifix on, which probably saved him from a nasty surprise when he cut himself shaving.  Although Dracula does seem to have good self-control, and control over the women as well.  They are really scary!  I wonder what their stories are.  The two dark women sound typical of the area, but the blonde seems more exotic, and the others seem to defer to her to some extent.

 

I think that Harker will still be in the story later, even though he thinks he is about to die, but right now I can't imagine how he can escape.  After what he has seen and experienced, I doubt that Dracula would want him returning to England and spilling the beans, and also it sounded like he would eventually be turned over to the women.

 

At the end of this section, we have the shipwreck.  Can we assume that the black dog is, in fact, Dracula?  If he can change shape, why did he bother crawling around on the outside of his castle - why didn't he just change into a bat and fly?

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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

Welcome, willowy, igonzafn, Judie-Beth, and brendi!  It's great to have you with us on this journey to Dracula's castle!  :smileywink:

 

Someone mentioned atmosphere--that's what has struck me the most in re-reading these first chapters.  Do readers today, do you think, get impatient when reading a lot of setting information?  Do they want to go straight to plot movement?  It seems like atmosphere is so important in this book--how could it be done any other way?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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willowy
Posts: 148
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I think possibly modern readers are more apt to like the setting information given to them short and sweet. You can see the differences between 19th century writers like Dickens, who are slightly verbose, and modern writers who are more to the point like James Ellroy (though he writes in clipped sentences...so maybe he's an extreme example!). Maybe that's why I really enjoy classic literature, all of the descriptions and setting information. I like to be able to picture something as the writer intended.

I'm not sure if the atmosphere would be as good as it is in the novel if it weren't described in such detail. I thought the passages about the three vampire "vixens" and the russian ship were excellent. They weren't over the top with description but I thought they really were good at building a creepy atmosphere.

-----------Willowy----------
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usafbrat
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I think, to a certain extent, that readers may get impatient with reading a lot of setting information, just part of our culture today, unfortunately.  I, for one, enjoy reading the setting information, especially in the classics.  Mainly, I feel the setting information, not only gives important background information to the story, but also speaks volumes about the culture at the time the work was written.  Literature is an important tool in cultural history, so it shouldn't be taken for granted.
--Jeremy

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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)


usafbrat wrote, in part:


Literature is an important tool in cultural history, so it shouldn't be taken for granted.


I think that's an important point. Just think if all novelists left out a lot about the settings of novels from a long time ago?  We wouldn't have nearly the picture of the world back then, and how it felt that we do.  Maybe this is something modern novelists should keep in mind.  Fiction (realistic fiction, that is) is, in a strange way, a kind of historical record of a time, or at least a representation of it.

~ConnieAnnKirk




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dulcinea3
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

I think that in this novel it certainly is necessary to have the description to set the scene.  By reading about the environment, it starts to creep us out even before the actions starts, making that all the more effective!
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)


dulcinea3 wrote:
I think that in this novel it certainly is necessary to have the description to set the scene.  By reading about the environment, it starts to creep us out even before the actions starts, making that all the more effective!

 

Ha. Creeps us out is right! By the time Count Dracula starts crawling face-down on the outside of the building in the dark, I'm pretty much in creeped-out-ville!
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Taylor-Marie
Posts: 117
Registered: ‎12-17-2008

Re: DRACULA: Chapters 1-7 (no spoilers, please)

[ Edited ]

ConnieK wrote:

dulcinea3 wrote:
I think that in this novel it certainly is necessary to have the description to set the scene.  By reading about the environment, it starts to creep us out even before the actions starts, making that all the more effective!

 

Ha. Creeps us out is right! By the time Count Dracula starts crawling face-down on the outside of the building in the dark, I'm pretty much in creeped-out-ville!

Stoker also posing the form in diary-form and letters also makes it creepier! Sometimes I felt like I was reading someone's actual diary. It definitely adds more suspense by making it more realistic and making you wonder if they will piece the puzzle together or not.

Message Edited by Taylor-Marie on 06-12-2009 05:41 PM
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My teachers tell me I daydream too much....I tell them they work too much.