Apr 3, 2013

Scribble, scribble, scribble, Mr& (3) --- Dracula (3)

(This is about Part II of the Green Eyes. Go here for previous post. A weeklong "King Dracula" contest will enliven the Georgia Beach Festweek, the main event of Part II, whence our interest in Bram Stoker's Dracula. We've dived right into the text of the book:)

The walls "frown," "doubts and fears crowd upon" Harker whose "flesh answers the pinching test" (not bad, that one), but a "flame burns without chimney or globe of any kind," "throwing long quivering shadows as it flickers" and we hear the words:

"I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome."

Right, this line will go into part II somewhere.

Christoper Lee, Belosi's successor on the silver screen

Dracula has a "marked physiognomy," we admire "the high bridge of the thin nose," but "the general effect was one of extreme pallor." "There were hairs in the centre of his palm," the "nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point," and

"his breath was rank."

This is a new one. Luckily, Edward Cullen doesn't know this, he would possibly faint. We normally don't know this, of course, because movies don't carry a sense of smell, and rank breath is bad for the box office. Anyhow, Dracula has "protuberant teeth," and when the wolves howl outside, he enunciates: "Listen to them, the children of the night; what music they make." Stoker uses semicolons in dialogue lines, very courageous. We'll use this line as well, including the semicolon, promise.

Jacob Black & Edward Cullen
Harker goes to bed and awakes "of his own accord," breakfast is laid, the "table service is of gold and so beautifully wrought" (that we can't handle it), in "none of the rooms there is a mirror," and Dracula, who had purportedly been called away (wink, wink: he must rest in his coffin during the day), resurfaces and speaks "Your great England; to know her is to love her"--- say what you want, the Count really has the best lines. The conversation evolves, sometimes the Count "sheers off the subject," his "sharp, canine teeth showed out strangely," etc...

Intermission: much is of course made in literary commentary of the sexual symbolics of Draculian behavior and attributes, let's see whether we find one concise quote, yes, here, this will do:

Lucy's (Mina's friend, Mina, Harper's fiancée and later wife) seduction by Dracula parallels sexual seduction. The virgin is ruined by the aristocratic vampire, in keeping with a common Gothic theme of the aristocracy preying on women of non-aristocratic blood. His penetration of her parallels the penetration of sex, and Lucy is unable or unwilling to save herself from him. Lucy is far more vulnerable than Mina to Dracula's seduction: because of her flirtatious nature, she is an easier target for the vampire. Although she is still basically innocent and pure, Dracula will eventually corrupt her. She describes her sensations in the graveyard as blissful, and during her out of body experience the imagery she employs continues the theme of penetration: she says that during her out-of-body experience she felt that the "West Lighthouse was right under me." Then she feels " a sort of agonizing feeling, as if I were in an earthquake." Intentional or not, the lighthouse is a powerful phallic symbol, and the earthquake could arguably symbolize female orgasm. Here again, we see the theme of desire coupled with fear. The vampires are a grave threat to female purity, and so they are a threat to Victorian culture and order. The graveyard as the site of the seduction foreshadows Lucy's future status as one of the undead.

So---much is made of the sexual symbolics, but how about the equivalent effect of the delayed fuck? Isn't this paralleled here by the delayed recognition of the dire truth, the vampire truth, a Hitchcock effect at work as it were, us biting our fingernails while aboriginals bestow garlic wreaths upon amateur rationalists & mirrors don't show the Count's reflection & canine teeth show strangely, with only, only us knowing that there is more between heaven and earth & Harper's so dumb & not getting it & not recognizing a nosferatu when he sees one? We all crave to be more clever than we are, and it's not a completely trivial craving to satisfy by means of poetic license since anything that is, in fact, more clever that us should by definition (more precisely, assumption) be incomprehensible (to us). Whence the need to create some dummy who's easily by-passed IQ-wise when it comes to vampires and stuff. And Harper doesn't even recognize the fangs for what they are!

Go here for the next post.

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