DRACULA

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Testo

DRACULA

Author profile: Writer of one of the world's most famous horror novels, Abraham Stoker was born to the loosely defined socio-cultural group known as the Anglo-Irish in Dublin. He was the son of a civil servant, and he was expected to follow in his father's footsteps. As a child, Abraham Stoker was a sickly child often on the point of death. He studied mathematics at Trinity College and became president of the Philosophical and Historical Society.
In the years between 1870 and 1877, he was a civil servant at Dublin Castle and he loved the Romantic poets. Stoker also became an enthusiastic theatregoer and an ardent admirer and friend of Henry Irving, a famous dramatic writer and critic. Many have argued that Henry Irving was an important model for the character of Count Dracula.
In the meantime Stoker became a regular guest of Sir William and Lady Wilde, the parents of Oscar Wilde, and was drawn into Lady Wilde's literary and artistic circle of friends. He competed with Oscar Wilde for the hand of Florence Balcombe, a beautiful young woman who was the daughter of a lieutenant-colonel. Florence chose Bram, and the two were married in 1878. That same year, he wrote The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, drawn from his experience as a civil servant; then Stoker wrote his greatest novel Dracula in 1897. He continued to work faithfully and tirelessly for Henry Irving until the actor's death in 1906. After that, Stoker continued to write fiction and do newspaper work until his own death in 1912.

First edition: This book was written by Bram Stoker in 1897 and the first edition for the publishing house “Heinemann educational books” appeared in 1982.

Narrative modes: The book is structured in nine short chapters. There are lot of dialogue and descriptive parts that make the story more flowing and less boring.

Narrator: In the text we have a third person narrator who tells us the course of facts.

Setting of the story: The actions take place in the end of the nineteenth century in England and Eastern Europe.

Description of the main characters:
• Count Dracula: He is a centuries-old vampire and Transylvanian nobleman who can assume the form of an animal, can control the weather, and is stronger than twenty men but his powers are limited and he cannot enter a victim's home unless invited, cannot cross water unless carried, and is rendered powerless by daylight. At the start of the novel, Count Dracula is an old man with long white hair who plans to move to London. He obsessively pursues young women.
• Van Helsing: He is a Dutch professor whose contributions are essential in the fight against Dracula. Knowledgeable about vampire folklore, Van Helsing becomes Dracula's chief antagonist and the leader of the group that hunts Dracula down and destroys him.
• Jonathan Harker: He is a lawyer whose firm sends him to Transylvania to conclude a real estate transaction with Dracula. Young and naïve, Harker quickly finds himself a prisoner in the castle but he is able to escape. In the end, he emerges as a brave and fearless fighter.
• Mina Murray: She is Jonathan's fiancée. Mina is a young woman eventually victimized by Dracula; she is also the best friend of Lucy Westenra. Mina is in many ways the heroine of the novel. She is intelligent and resourceful, and her research leads Van Helsing's men to Castle Dracula.
• Lucy Westenra: She is Mina's best friend and an attractive, vivacious young woman. Lucy is the first character in the novel to fall under Dracula's spell so she becomes a vampire.
• Arthur Holmwood: He is Lucy's fiancé and a friend of her other suitors. Arthur is the first to offer Lucy a blood transfusion, and he agrees to kill her demonic form.

Plot: Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer, travels to Castle Dracula in the Eastern European country of Transylvania to conclude a real estate transaction with a nobleman named Count Dracula. When he arrives, the local peasants warn him about his destination, giving him crucifixes and other charms against evil, and uttering strange words that Harker later translates into "vampire."
Upon arriving at the crumbling old castle, Harker finds that Dracula is a well-educated and hospitable gentleman. After only a few days, however, he realizes that he is effectively a prisoner in the castle and that the count possesses supernatural powers and diabolical ambitions.
One evening, Harker is attacked by three beautiful female vampires, but the count staves them off, telling the vampires that the man belongs to him. After these strange facts Harker succeeds in escaping from the castle by climbing down the walls.
Meanwhile, in England, Harker's fiancée, Mina Murray, visits her friend Lucy at the seaside town of Whitby where a Russian vessel is shipwrecked. A large dog leaps from the wreck and runs away. All of its crew are missing save one dead captain. The ship was carrying fifty boxes of earth from Dracula's castle. After the arrival of this ship, Lucy begins to exhibit strange behaviour: she sleepwalks often, and she seems to be growing paler and weaker.
Suffering from brain fever, Harker reappears in the city of Budapest so Mina goes to join him. Doctor Van Helsing arrives in Whitby, and, after his initial examination of Lucy, he orders that her room has to be covered with garlic but one night a wolf breaks into her house and kills the poor young girl.
Mysterious attacks against children have begun in the area where Lucy was buried. Van Helsing shows that the cause of all is Lucy and he convinces the other men that she has been transformed into a vampire like Dracula. They agree to follow the ritual of vampire slaying to ensure that Lucy's soul will return to eternal rest. While the undead Lucy sleeps, Arthur plunges a stake through her heart. The men then cut off her head and stuff her mouth with garlic.
Meanwhile, Dracula forces Mina to drink his blood and when she begins the slow change into a vampire, the other men sterilize the boxes of earth, forcing Dracula to flee to the safety of his native Transylvania.
The band of friends follows him and kills the Count Dracula just as the sun is setting. Mina will save.

Message of the book: The three dominant themes in this book are: the promise of Christian salvation, the consequences of modernity and the dangers of female sexual expression. I think that the message of the book is hidden in one of them but I didn’t find it.

Personal opinion: This book is a famous masterpiece of Bram Stoker known all over the world that I have appreciated a lot. The dialogues are very interesting and the text is written with an easy and comprehensible language. I love mysterious and horror stories because there are a lot of amazing turns of events!

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