Chapter Seven of Dracula

This blog post contains major spoilers for the seventh chapter of the Gothic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Do not read this if you plan on reading the book and do not want it spoiled for you.

In the seventh chapter of Bram Stoker’s famous Gothic novel, we follow Jonathan Harker`s fiancée Mina. The chapter begins with a newspaper clipping`s description of a great storm that hit on August 8th, which Mina has taken from the paper and pasted into her journal. As the storm worsens, Townsfolk from the coastal village gather and comment on how strangely a boat in the distance is being piloted. Everyone starts worrying that the ship is going to crash and sink. Somehow the ship manages to get to the beach and as the ship hits the shore, a large dog leaps out and runs off. The townspeople discover that the pilot is in fact dead and was simply tied to the wheel of the ship, bouncing and lolling back and forth with the waves. Mina later finds out that the ship is from a town called Varna, that its cargo contains only crates of dirt, and that nobody ever found the strange dog that leapt from the boat.

The chapter then cuts to Mina`s copy of the captain’s log, which was written before the captain aboard the ship died. The captain’s log states that the voyage starts out fine but at some point during the voyage the crew start disappearing, until its only the captain and the first mate left. Soon after, the first mate apparently goes bonkers, having hallucinations and screaming about how he`s going to kill “It”. The captain assumes he has gone insane due to the loss of his friends and shipmates. The first mate eventually jumps ship and drowns himself. The captain is left on the boat alone, or is he? He then ties himself to the wheel to keep him from falling down, seeing as though a massive storm is coming, and he keeps a sprig of rosemary in his hand to ward off “It”; and there, the captain log ends.

Mina states that the captain will be given a hero`s burial because he stayed at the wheel of his ship until he died. She makes plans to go to the funeral. Lucy, who is Mina’s best friend, has once again been “sleepwalking”, getting up twice in the middle of the night, and having Mina put her back to bed both times. The old man who had befriended Lucy and Mina earlier in their visit is found dead with a broken neck up on a hill above the town. After this is uncovered, Lucy and Mina go to both the funerals of the old man and the sea captain.

iSearch Blog Post

“The Paprika Hendl”

My choice for my iSearch blog post was something in the first chapter of Dracula. The mention of what Jonathan Harker ate for dinner during his opening days of travel. He describes his supper as “a chicken, done up in some way with red pepper, which was very good, but thirsty.” I assume that last comment infers that the chicken was incredibly spicy. This interested me because it had no apparent purpose at the time until I realised, it added that extra bit of realism to the story. It even goes to the point of John making a memo in his journal, writing, “must get recipe for Mina” and then he asked the waiter for the name, getting “Paprika Hendl” as an answer. This make me believe that Bram Stoker cared about this project and wanted to make it as good as it could get by including as many detailed explanations and scenes as possible . This detail, this tiny little detail, caught my eye because I though it was unnecessary filler that happened to be sort of interesting, then I realised that it was much more. As a reader, it adds an extra layer of realism to a book already on the verge of bursting with detail. In later chapters he goes on, every so often, to describe his meal, always including the name, for readers to relate to and or try.