By Bram Stoker
The setting of the story begins in 19th century Europe, in
the eerie country of Transylvania. A solicitor from England
named Jonathan Harker is sent by a business man to meet
with an old Count named Dracula at his castle located far
from civilization. Residents of Transylvania who become
aware of his destination begin crossing themselves and
giving him garlic and blessings. As a result of these
gestures, Mr. Harker soon develops an uneasy feeling about
visiting the mysterious Count. He arrives at Castle Dracula
regardless, and makes his acquaintances with Dracula. He
soon realizes that the count is no normal human, but an
evil, blood-sucking vampire, who can command animals and
elements with the wave of his hand. Harker escapes but the
Count has devised an intricate plan to move to London and
exercise his evil forces on innocent people there. However,
a group of friends, including an open-minded but ingenious
professor, a psychologist, an American, a rich man, as well
as Jon an Harker and his wife Mina, learn of the Count's
sinister plan and pledge to destroy him before he can
create an army of un-dead vampires. They systematically
destroy his coffins with holy wafers and chase him out of
England back to Castle Dracula. There they carry out an
ultimate plan to destroy Dracula.
The Author uses suspense as a storytelling device rather
effectively throughout the story. There are a fair number
of parts in which the reader is left suspended on the edge
of the seat, eager to find out what is to happen next.
However, there were parts where suspense could be used in a
manner that would enhance the gravity of the plot.
Nonetheless, The book is written in a unique way that
allows suspense to be used easily and effectively. Dracula
is written in the first person format like many other
novels, but then it differs slightly. The book starts off
as a first person Journal of the first character describing
his experiences. But then it switches to someone else's
journal, and then to letters between two characters, and
later to a newspaper article. It follows this pattern
roughly throughout the book. At various points, the plot
builds up with one character's journal and then it jumps to
another character's journal so that you must read more
before the exciting conclusion to that particular event is
revealed. At other times deductions must be made on what a
character has written to ascertain what has occurred. There
is a good example of this when the first character,
Jonathan Harker, is imprisoned in the castle close to
sunset and knows that the Count will attack him that night.
His journal ends as he describes what he might do to
escape. But the success of his escape is not evident until
the first part of his fiancee's journal is completed. This
sort of suspense can be quite frustrating and annoying at
times. Thus its purpose is often defeated and the plot
suffers. But there is also the more prevalent type of
suspense used where the character is on the verge of an
important discovery or he is in a dangerous predicament but
the author is slow to divulge what is to happen. When the
suspense was used properly, it proved to be both
interesting and very dramatic.
In conclusion, Bram Stoker's Dracula turned out to be a
very exciting and fascinating novel. The plot was well
structured and was very suspenseful. The author used his
historical knowledge of Europe, particularly Hungary and
Transylvania, very well in conveying a certain idea in the
book. For example, Count Dracula was described as a noble
of the Magyar peoples of eastern Europe who fought
valiantly against invaders during the 14th and 15th
centuries. Full insight was given into the minds and
personalities of almost all of the well developed
characters. Initially, the Count remained somewhat
mysterious for a specific reason. This allowed for the main
characters to slowly discover who the Count really was,
thus developing the character slowly for the reader. The
intrigue built into his character intensified the mystery.
Suspense was used extensively throughout the novel. The
book probed deeply into people's superstitions, fears, and
beliefs of the supernatural, and how others who are
skeptical of them are sometimes proven wrong. In all,
Dracula is a clever, exciting, and suspenseful novel that
uses a ruthless villain to terrify you but forces you to
read more. 


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