Georgina Grainger 10DF
How does Bram stoker manipulate audience response to Jonathan Harker and Dracula in his entopic novel?
Since Dracula was written in 1897, by the successful Bram Stoker it has since been a popular novel. The story line is based upon a mysterious vampire in Transylvania who travels to England in the search of fresh blood but complications arise when Jonathan Harker and accomplices intervene, causing a catastrophe.
Bram Stoker manipulates his audience’s response to Jonathan Harker and Dracula. The book is set pre-1915 and is of a gothic genre, so is intended to be frightening and mysterious, which are general expectations of a gothic genre.
To begin with the first four chapters are written from Jonathan Harker’s point of view, through his journal. Therefore, indicating that Bram stoker wants us to have a good understanding of Jonathan’s character before any other characters are introduced. So that we can get a very clear idea of what he usually like, his habits, what he is like before, during and after going to Transylvania.
There are many indications that Bram stoker wants us to view Jonathan as an intellectual, as he focuses on Jonathan’s time spent at the British museum in England, researching for his journey to Transylvania. He wants us to view him as an intellectual so that later on the book you will trust what he is writing about his journey, and not think he has gone mad.
Jonathan also comes across as a very precise man as he notes the exact train times down, “should have arrived at 6:46, but the train was an hour late.” Bram stoker also puts this across later in the chapter when other times are mentioned. By putting the exact time it emphasises how precise he is. He wants us to see Jonathan this way so that the audience think he is a trustable character, and believe what he is saying.
Bram Stoker also portrays Jonathan as a very observant character. This can be deduced from the notes in Jonathan’s journal, “a country which is full of beauty of every kind,” showing he is interested in his surroundings, and other cultures. Therefore, we see him as an open-minded man; Bram Stoker is portraying him like this because he wants us to see Jonathan as a very good character in the book, he is trying to build up a very positive image of him so that the audience will trust his judgement.
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We first encounter Dracula when he sends a letter to Jonathan, the letter finishes with, “your friend, Dracula.” Suggesting that he is either been watching him, maybe they have had previous acquaintances or he is trying to get on Jonathan’s good side. So it shows that Dracula is quite cunning and Bram Stoker is starting to show that Dracula is quite devious and can be quite sly, he does things for a reason.
Bram stoker also portrays Dracula as a possessive character, as in the letter he refers to Transylvania as “my precious land. The word “my” suggests that Dracula counts the country as his own and in a way he is in control, or he could just be very proud of his country. So by doing this Bram Stoker is showing Dracula as an even more possessive person, but he is also showing that he is powerful character, he’s trying to show Dracula as a bad character in the story.
As the chapter continues, Bram Stoker portrays Dracula as an evil character when Jonathan first meets him in person. Bram Stoker uses effective adjectives to create a frightening scene, “Throwing long quivering shadows.” The adjective “quivering” suggests everything, even the shadows, live in fear of the evil Dracula. So Bram Stoker is trying to get the audience to believe he is a very powerful and fearful character.
Bram Stoker would also like us to see Dracula as an intellectual as in Jonathan Harker’s journal he says, “Saying in excellent English.” The word “excellent” emphasises the fact that Draculas English is good, so Bram Stoker makes a strong point of the audience seeing him as an intellectual. We respond to his by thinking he must have Jonathan Harker at his castle for a reason, but why? This creates suspension and keeps the reader interested.
We then meet Jonathan Harker later on in the book when Mina describes him in her journal and letters to Lucy Westenra. Thus, we learn about him from others whose opinion we respect.
Mina refers to Jonathan quite frequently in her letters and journal. This shows Bram Stoker wants us to see him as someone that people look up to, ad strive to be like him. “I want to keep up with Jonathan’s studies”; “I shall be able to be useful to Jonathan.” These phrases from Mina show that she looks him as an example, so therefore showing the audience that he is a very important figure in people’s lives. This makes us think of Jonathan as the good character, the hero in the story and I think people expect a lot of him.
Through Mina’s journal, Bram Stoker presents Jonathan as a man that keeps his word, “I had not heard from Jonathan for some time.” It suggests that he normally writes to Mina whilst he’s away, and so it was unusual for him to not write, he is trying to get us to see that Jonathan is usually a man of his word and sticks to what he does, in this case, keeping contact with Mina. We respond to this by believing that Jonathan is a trustworthy character, adding to the fact that we think he will come out as the hero in the novel.
Bram Stoker wants us to see Jonathan as a hard working individual, because then we know that he is going to apply his determination to something, but the audience doesn’t know what, so it s building up the story. In Mina’s journal it states, “Rich, master of his own business.”The phrase suggests that to be rich and successful he must be hard working and determined.
Further on in the book, after Jonathan has returned from Transylvania, Bram Stoker shows that Jonathan isn’t fearless, “I noticed that the others kept looking over their shoulders as every sound and every new shadow, just as I felt myself doing.” The quotation suggests that he feels uneasy in his surroundings and that he has a fear of something, so Bram Stoker portrays him as not fearless, unlike at the beginning of the book, where he is presented as fearless and a very successful. I think by showing a change in the character Bram Stoker is implying that the circumstances have had an effect on him and that they must have been awful circumstances because to begin with he was a fearless man and now he’s looking over his shoulder, scared of his surroundings.
Dracula is then described in Mina Harker’s journal, during which he is in the form of a dog. “Long and dark with red eyes.” This is a description of the glance that Mina caught of Dracula. The adjective “red” suggests evil, so Bram Stoker is building up to the fact that Dracula is the evil character in the book. Bram Stoker only describes Dracula thoroughly through Jonathan Harker’s journal at the beginning of the book, I think that this is because he doesn’t want to give too much away, just give little hints throughout the book and also he mainly does it through Jonathan’s journal because the audience can trust what he is saying is true.
During Jonathan’s stay in Transylvania, Dracula comes across as a threatening character. He says to Jonathan, “be warned!”, the exclamation marks suggests that he means what he says. Dracula warns Jonathan about wandering around his castle and hope to scare Jonathan into not venturing any further than his own room. Bram stoker is continuing to show the audience that Dracula is an evil character.
He then proceeds to tell Jonathan what dates to put on his letters, “June 12th, the second June 19th, and the third June 29th.” The quotation suggests that Dracula has everything organised, So Bram Stoker is showing us that he is a very precise man and plans ahead. He wants us to see this as it will give the audience the impression that Dracula has Jonathan at his castle for a reason, creating suspense throughout the book.
Dracula is also mentioned in Dr Seward’s journal, by the lunatic, Reinfield. He refers to Dracula as “master”. The word master implies that to Reinfield he is a very important and powerful person and this is how Bram Stoker wants us to see him. Also the audience may associate this with a master/slave relationship between the two characters which also suggests that Dracula is a very controlling character, giving the impression to the audience that Dracula is in control of lot of things.
The last time we meet Jonathan is at the end of the book when all the characters finally come together to meet in one place.
He is described through Mina’s eyes in a very positive way, “bent on finishing their task.” It shows that Bram Stoker wants us to see him as a very determined way. The phrase shows this because the word bent is telling the audience that they would do whatever it takes to finish the task.
I also think that Bram Stoker wanted us to see him as quite a fearless person, “nothing seemed to stop or even to hinder them.” It seems that even though they could have been in peril danger, they kept going. So Bram Stoker is portraying him as a fearless and determined person. I think he wants the audience to see him like this because he is adding to the positive points about Jonathan, creating a good character, also maybe hinting the audience that he will do whatever it takes to get rid of Dracula.
The last note made by Jonathan is 7 years on, But Bram Stoker is still portraying Jonathan as a good person and, “well worth the pain we endured.” It’s saying that he doesn’t regret a single thing, even though it caused him lots of pain and Bram Stoker wants us to see him as a good faithful man, and he believed that what he did was for a good cause. Stoker does this because he wants the audience to see him as proud person,
In his last paragraph, Jonathan speaks of Mina and their son, “this boy will someday know what a brave and gallant women his mother is.” I think Bram Stoker wants us to see Jonathan as a very loving and caring person, especially towards Mina, as the way he describes her in the phrase, it shows he loves her dearly. We can tell this from the adjectives such as “Gallant” and “brave”. I think he’s trying to show another side to Jonathan Harker, not just as a intellectual and determined, but also as a loving caring man.
It is only at the end of the book that there is an entry from Dracula; I think Bram Stoker has done this so as not too much away until the end.
When Mina sees Dracula she refers to him as “the thing”. This is suggesting that she fears him, too scared to say his real name. So Bram Stoker is portraying Dracula as a person that people live in fear of, he is powerful.
But even though he is described as an evil character all the way through the book, after Jonathan has kills him he said, “There was in the face a look of peace.” I think this could suggest that maybe Dracula didn’t mean to be that evil and that he was glad his evil form had left the earth. So Bram Stoker is hinting to the audience that Dracula wasn’t as cruel as he seemed. I think he is trying to make the audience slightly sympathetic towards him.
The phrase “passed from our sight”, is used to describe Dracula’s death, Bram Stoker wants us to view Dracula as a controlling person, and it was a relief to Jonathan that the vampire had gone as last, because he even had an impression on Jonathan. I think he has done this to show just how powerful and controlling he was, because even the determined and fearless Jonathan was glad to see him die.
Bram Stoker uses the phrase “deathly pale” to describe Dracula when he is in the coffin. The word “deathly” is effective and it suggests that he is more dead than alive and the comparison that Bram Stoker uses is trying to show us that he is quite a spooky individual.
In conclusion I think that Bram Stoker manipulates his audience well. All the way through the book, he builds up Dracula as an evil, mysterious character by comparisons to death and evil colours such as red, yet at the end we do have some sympathy for him. He does the same for Jonathan Harker, but as a positive intellectual person through Jonathan’s own journal and notes. He presents him as a very organised and fearless person, as he notes down exact train times and goes to extremes to dispose of Dracula. I think these are the typical characteristics we expect the good person in a book to have, clever organised, an all-round person that faces out of the ordinary circumstances. The way that Bram Stoker controls his audience by creating suspense and not giving the whole game away, having the traditional good versus evil, keeps the audience guessing all the way through his eponymous novel.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
This is an excellent essay. Clearly structured and showing real perception and insight. It constantly refers to the question and remains focused. Some very good use of quotes to support statements. Some complex ideas are well expressed. Good use of topic sentences. *****