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MonkeyNotes-Dracula by Bram Stoker
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

Chapter 1

Summary

Chapter 1 starts with the main persona, Jonathan Harker; a solicitor clerk making a journey to Transylvania at the behest of a client Count Dracula. Jonathan starts making entries in his journal on May 3. He leaves Munich and arrives at Vienna Budapest. He stops at Hotel Royale, where he has dinner but his night is restless as he has queer dreams. He starts out again in the morning boarding the train at Bistritz. As directed by the Count, he goes to Golden Krone Hotel, where Dracula gives him a letter.

On May 4, his next entry tells about the fear on the faces of his landlord and wife. They refuse to tell him much about Dracula and instead try to dissuade from going, telling him that it is the eve of St. George's Day, when all the evil things in the world have full sway. The Landlord's wife puts a rosary around on his neck. The Count's coach arrives for Jonathan.

On May 5, in the castle, the driver, the landlord and his wife, and a small crowd point two fingers at Jonathan and make the sign of the cross. Jonathan is later told that this is to ward him of evil. The driver and Jonathan arrive earlier than scheduled. The driver urges Jonathan to go back. Before Jonathan can react, a tall man with a long brown beard and a great black hat comes along. The other driver makes a sign of the cross and leaves in a hurry. The tall man drives his carriage away towards Dracula's castle. At about midnight a dog begins to howl followed by many others. The horses nervously strain and rear but the driver pacifies them almost magically. The howling sounds nearer and nearer and this time it is the baying of the wolves. Suddenly, Jonathan sees a faint flickering blue flame. The driver sees it and jumps down and disappears into the darkness. He reappears again, the flames seems to have disappeared. Again it appears but does not seem to illuminate anything. Once a strange visual effect happens, where the driver stands between the flame and Jonathan, but he doesn't obstruct Jonathan's view. The howling of the wolves continuously follows the carriage. The horses jump and rear in terror, but the driver is in full command. After some time, they finally stop in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle with tall black windows through which no light penetrates. Jonathan enters all this in his journal.


Notes

The book, Dracula, starts out with the main persona making entries in his journal giving a more personalized perspective of the happenings. Chapters I - IV, not only give an introduction of Dracula, but also have a kind of a rising action emphasized by terror, which seems to be gathering momentum with each of the four chapters. The sign of the cross, the rosary, St. George's Day, all seem to be pointing at some impending danger. This chapter is important, because not only does it have undercurrents of evil but also dwells on the main persona's feeling of uneasiness.

There is a brief mention of Mina, in which the author briefly introduces the character, Mina. She is obviously someone close to Jonathan. Later on, of course, one realizes that she is Jonathan's fiancée and later his wife.

There are references of Ordog (Satan), Bokol (Hell), Stregoira (witch), Vrolok and Vikoslak, which mean wolf and vampires. These are words spoken by the landlord and the crowd. They also emphasize on the foreboding of evil.

Jonathan describes the land and the geographical out lay of the places very well. This is similar to the characteristics between the author, Bram Stoker and Jonathan Harker. Both of them have got their knowledge from the library of the British Museum.

Jonathan feels a strange uneasiness, but nowhere does he have any suspicion that Count Dracula is a vampire. Through the Count's letter, the Count comes across as a gracious host in a very polite gentleman. But Jonathan Harker still has a very uneasy feeling of foreboding. But this may be because of the reaction of the people and the strange fear on their faces.

The howling of the wolves, the strange blue flame and the driver's strange mastery over the horses also add up to this eerie feeling. This is not dispelled by the castle's ruined book.

Chapter 1 dwells on the strange fear enveloping seemingly ordinary ambiance.

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