Dracula delays

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  • Publicado : 20 de agosto de 2012
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The book opens with a sequence of timings, with word “late” is foregrounded by being at the end of the first sentence, suggesting that delay will be of particular significance.This is a recurring motif. The coach from Bistritz is late; although the rendezvous with Dracula early, Dracula delays arrival at his castle. There is a delay answering the door:Harker thinks he will have to wait until morning.

That could be just one bad journey. But the late receipt of a telegram contributes to Lucy’s death, Dracula is limited by havingto wait until certain times to cross moving water or change form, and has delayed his attack on England until he has developed his skill. The pursuers are slowed by an accidentto their boat.

As well as direct references to waiting, there are other aspects of the text that convey this. Many readers on the course forum found that the text seems to slowdown significantly in the middle, the effect being to delay resolution of the tension. And Dracula arrives in Whitby on the Demeter; named after the goddess of life and seasons,possibly most famous for waiting at the gates of Hades each year for the return of her daughter from forced exile there. In the myth, this causes plant growth to cease in thewinter, so again we have a suspension of activity whilst somebody is waiting.

What is the significance of this? There are many possibilities, but one is that this is a religiousallusion to the book of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time topluck that which has been planted”. Evil has occurred because Dracula has not respected this natural cycle, and at multiple levels the text prompts the reader to consider such timing.