Meghan Kruger

Last name + pg. #
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Meghan Kruger
Mr. Conrad
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Entire Paper Double
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Junior Honors, Period 2
A.G.D. -imagery
02 March 2015
The Need for Blood
Imagine standing in a courtyard looking upon a ruined castle with tall black windows
that reflect and emit no light, and broken battlements that create a jagged line against the slate
grey sky. Add to that immense great doors of such a castle, old and studded with large iron nails,
and set in a projecting doorway of shadows (Stoker 16-17). Interestingly enough, Bram Stoker,
an Irish novelist and short story writer, produced this scene while investigating his most famous
novel, Dracula. While conducting thorough research at the age of fifty to find a role
Introduce Author and
Novel before the
thesis statement
model/antagonist for the person of his nightmares, he came across an historic one in Romania,
and in addition, stumbled upon the setting of Transylvania which later became synonymous with
the supernatural (Stableford 37). The novel was written in 1897, right before the turn of the
century, causing some of the main plot issues mentioned in it to parallel the changing
philosophies of the time periods. After much exploration for his masterpiece, Bram Stoker
discovered that modern technology and medicine, the sordid history of Europe, and the troubling
times for Christianity were going to be influential in writing Dracula. (Thesis Statement)
Considering the 20th century feel of the novel, Bram Stoker uses numerous references to
modern technology and medicinal usage. Daniel Farson comments in Twenty-Century Literary
Criticism on how the “up-to-datedness’” of the novel causes a common Victorian who reads
Dracula to call it daringly modern (“Bram” 383). The novel is a combination of groups of letters
and diary entries documented with stenographs, typewriters, and phonographs. Jonathan Harker,
Note: first word of title for
cite if there is no author
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a main character in the novel, records his entire journey to Transylvania in a journal. Mina, his
fiancée, is trying to learn how to use a stenograph and shorthand to keep up with him. In one of
the letters written to her friend Lucy, she states, “ . . . write it out for him on the typewriter, at
which also I am practicing very hard. He and I sometimes write letters in shorthand, and he is
keeping a stenographic journal of his travels abroad” (Stoker 54). The playing of the
phonograph and the use of phonographic records is also alluded to several times by Stoker (31,
79, 142). These 19th century technologies were on the cusp of becoming widely used
commercially, so Stoker’s reference to them would be analogous to computers being suggested
items in a 1970’s novel (Wasson 388). Modern medicine, typically another medium of
technology, was also woven into the fabric of Dracula.
The medical world was going through its own technological advancements at this time
growing like never before, but one in particular grabs the reader’s interest, blood transfusions.
Even though blood transfusions were banned from Europe in the mid-17th century, a physician
by the name of James Blundell was credited for reinstituting it to the 19th century with his
NOTE: Incorrect
successful transfusion on December 22nd, 1818 (Kaaddan and Angrini 23-24). Count Dracula, a
vampire who comes to London in hopes to create more vampires, chooses Lucy Westenra as his
first victim. With the continued visits from him, Lucy is slowly drained of both her blood and
her life. In one of the attempts to revive her, Professor Abraham Van Helsing and Doctor John
Seward decide to perform a blood transfusion. When her fiancé, Arthur Holmwood, walks into
the room right before the operation takes place, Van Helsing says, “She wants blood, and blood
she must have or die. My friend John and I have consulted, and we are about to perform what
we call transfusion of blood—to transfer from full veins of one to the empty veins which pine for
The research paper should not have any plot summary
UNLESS it is used to clarify an influence or point being
made, and this should be used sparingly.
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him” (Stoker 117). Through technology and medicine Stoker portrays some of the modern sides
of the 20th century, but he also incorporates some of Europe’s darker history and legends.
Vlad Tepes was Bram Stoker’s main influence when he was looking for his royal
vampire. Brian Stableford describes how Stoker found an aristocrat as his mold for Count
Dracula. Vlad comes from 15th century Eastern Europe and is nicknamed the “Impaler” or
Dragul, which in Romanian, means dragon or devil. Most of the first legends about him were
derived from Dom Augustine Calmet (37). Knowing this, Stoker puts a twist on the myths. He
creates qualities, such as abnormal strength, pale or white skin, and immortal life. He also
describes limitations, such as dislike of garlic, the inability to go out into sunlight, and a stake
through the heart will kill them, which sets the bar for every other vampire novel written after
Dracula. An illustration of one of his limitations is when Lucy was growing weak and Van
Helsing, having a hunch a vampire was involved, lined her room with garlic flowers and placed a
necklace of them around her neck (Stoker 126). Another myth that Stoker describes takes place
in Whitby, which is another setting where Lucy eventually turns into a vampire.
The legend goes, there was a nun by the name of Constance de Beverley who broke her
sacred vows by falling in love with a false knight by the name of Marmion, and, as punishment,
she was bricked up alive in the dungeon of the Abbey (“Whitby”). Stoker uses this supplemental
tale to add depth to his plot; Mina was traveling into Whitby to visit her friend Lucy. After
arriving at the train station, they both took a carriage to Lucy’s house, and on their way to the
house, they passed the ruins of the Whitby Abbey. In her journal, Mina comments on the legend
of the White Lady:
Right over the town is the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes,
and which is the scene of part of ‘Marmion,’ where the girl was built up in the
Note: Long quotations must be over 4 lines in length and set off by a hanging indent at
1 inch (or tab over twice). Also NO QUOTATION MARKS and Citation is outside end
mark. ONLY ONE ALLOWED in this paper
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wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic
bits. There is a legend that a White Lady is seen in one of the windows longingly
waiting for her lost knight’s return. (Stoker 62)
By infusing a classical Anglo-Saxon setting of Whitby Abbey, which can still be seen and visited
today, with a traditional legend, Stoker holds the interest of his reader. Similarly, Christianity
seems to have its own traditions and “legends.” Christian beliefs were popular in Europe for
centuries, but situations were getting rocky toward the end of the 1800s and the stories were
being twisted.
Organized religions, especially Christianity, were beginning to fall apart at the end of the
19th century. Many scientific journals and books were published that contradicted some of the
morals the churches were teaching. The best example of this is Charles Darwin’s Origin of
Species written in 1859 (“Dracula” 33). Bram Stoker tries to keep the traditions of such beliefs
alive. He makes vampires defenseless against some common religious items. For example, a
crucifix, holy water, and a Eucharistic wafer, all of which, are able to drive a vampire away, but
not kill them (78, 125,133). Van Helsing, even though he is a scientist, never loses sight of his
Catholic religion when first discovering that Lucy was becoming a vampire. After Count
Dracula’s attack on Mina, Van Helsing drives him away with a crucifix. He also protects Mina
by placing a Eucharistic wafer on her forehead, which ends up burning her skin. Another way of
looking at this story is as a fight between good and evil. Robert P. Poquette says, when
critiquing in Novels for Students of the book, that both sides offer their version of immortality.
For the vampires, it is the sacrifice of having to live off of the blood of another human to have
the chance to live forever. On the other hand, the Christian religion makes immortality possible
by living off the “blood of Christ” in order to exist eternally in peace after death (35).
Restate thesis in other words, in this case, in a couple of sentences
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Dracula describes modern times for people getting ready for the 20th century. Medicine
and technology are always increasing, and with many people in London worried about their
health with the overcrowding and diseases, this was a good thing. Even though history is not
modern, people learn from their mistakes, and some of the myths and legends keep a society
focused on what they know and what they believe; consequently, keeping up with religious
traditions becomes harder as time goes on and scientists come up with new ideas that contradict
some of the stories (“Dracula” 33). These are just some of the influences Bram Stoker used to
help him write his best-selling novel Dracula. As society moves into the 21st century, imagine
how many authors, writers and directors in the past one hundred years or especially the past ten
years have been influenced by Stoker to create vampires, the immortal undead, and the dark,
gothic castles of your nightmares.
Look back to AGD –
Imagery ; - )
Why do we care?
Connection to
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Centered, not bold, not
underlined, 12 pt. , capital
“W” and capital “C”
Works Cited
Angrini, Mahmub, PhD and Abdul Nasser Kaadan. “Blood Transfusion in History.” n.p. 2009.
Web. 11 Dec. 2009.
“Bram (Abraham) Stoker.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon K. Hall. Vol. 8.
Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. 383-384. Print.
“Dracula: Bram Stoker.” Novels for Students. Ed. David Galens. Vol. 18. Detroit: Gale, 2003.
22-33. Print.
Poquette, Robert P. “Dracula.” Novels for Students. Ed. David Galens. Vol. 18. Detroit: Gale,
2003. 35. Print.
Stableford, Brian. “Stoker, Bram.” St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers. Ed.
David Pringle. St. James Press, 1998. 573-75. Rpt. in Novels for Students. Ed. David
Galens. Vol. 18. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 47-50. Print.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Ann Arbor: J.W. Edwards Inc., 2009. Print.
Wasson, Richard. “The Politics of Dracula.” English Literature in Transition 9.1 (1966): 24-27.
Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon K. Hall. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale
Research Company, 1982. 387-388. Print
“Whitby Abbey.” Haunted Places. n.p. 13 Apr. 2007. Web. 11 Dec. 2009.
**note: entry for the Bible and POWER Library
The New Jerusalem Bible. Ed. Susan Jones. New York: Doubleday, 1985. Print.
“Charles Dickens.” Contemporary Authors. Gale, 2009. Web. 8 Feb. 2013.