Episodic Structure In Dracula By Bram Stoker English Literature Essay

In the late nineteenth century, Bram Stoker released one of the most widely recognized and successful novels in the epistolatory or episodic signifier, Dracula. An epistolatory novel is besides called a novel of letters, because the narrative takes topographic point in the signifier of letters, perchance journal entries, newspaper cuttings, wires, physician ‘s notes, ship ‘s logs, and on occasion newspaper studies. An epistle is an ancient term for a missive. ( “ Dracula. ” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism ) . The epistolatory novel is an interesting literary technique, because it allows a author to include multiple storytellers in his or her narrative. This means the narrative can be told and interpreted from legion point of views. Dracula is chiefly narrated by several storytellers who besides serve as the novel ‘s chief supporters ; Stoker supplemented the narrative with occasional newspaper cuttings to associate events non straight witnessed by the narrative ‘s characters. By arranging his novel in an episodic format, Stoker enhanced the reading experience, assisting this astonishing and tickle pinking classical narrative become clearer and look more credible to the reader.

An advantage of an episodic novel is that it helps the reader understand the character ‘s motive. Dracula in one sense is a alone novel that moves off from traditional narrative manners in order to narrate an episodic narrative through different textual paperss. Stoker ‘s work besides strengthens the significance and value of the text. Normally, when reading a book, one does non understand the motive of the character due to miss of cognition and/or understanding on the topic. This is normally because one does non cognize the other characters ‘ position. This is non the instance in Dracula. Because Stoker used the episodic method in his novel, the reader now knows what each and every character ‘s motive is. The construction of this novel helps one identify the state of affairs, acquire to cognize each place ( individual ) , explore each place, and analyze what they have learned. This construction allows one to see things from person else ‘s position. By play backing a scene from the point of views of all the characters, one may acquire a clearer image of what really happened, how the other individual sees the state of affairs, and his/her motive. For illustration Mina states in her journal: “ I have been working really hard recently, because I want to maintain up with Jonathan ‘s surveies, and I have been practising stenography really assiduously. When we are married I shall be able to be utile to Jonathan, and if I can stenograph good plenty I can take down what he wants to state in this manner and compose it out for him on the typewriter, at which besides I am practising really hard… . I may demo it to Jonathan some twenty-four hours if there is in it anything deserving sharing, but it is truly an exercising book ” ( Stoker 61 ) . This quote signifier the book shows why she wants to maintain a diary and what it will assist her with later on in her life.

The secret plan was really easy to follow because of the episodic construction. In literature, secret plans are the single scenes and events that are tied to each other more through a simple chronology than through any peculiar cause-and-effect relationship. Due to the episodic construction of this book, as the narrative goes on, one starts to understand the emotional and logical make-up of the characters based on their journal entries. It besides allows the writer to experiment with multiple manners of composing in a individual novel. Some illustrations are: Dr. Seward when he sees sick Lucy, “ How shall I depict what we saw? On the bed lay two adult females, Lucy and her female parent. The latter ballad farthest in, and she was covered with a white sheet, the border of which had been blown back by the drouth through the broken window, demoing the drawn, white, face, with a expression of panic fixed upon it. By her side ballad Lucy, with face white and still more drawn. The flowers which had been round her cervix we found upon her female parent ‘s bosom, and her pharynx was au naturel, demoing the two small lesions which we had noticed before, but looking dreadfully white and mangled. Without a word the Professor set over the bed, his caput about affecting hapless Lucy ‘s chest. Then he gave a speedy bend of his caput, as of one who listens, and jumping to his pess, he cried out to me, ‘It is non yet excessively late! Quick! Quick! Bringing the brandy! ‘ ” ( Stoker 164 ) . Dr. Seward ‘s is an orderly narrative of the sequence of events based on his scientific head. Another character, Mina, says in her journal: “ Oh, but I am tired! If it were non that I had made my diary a responsibility I should non open it this evening. We had a lovely walk. Lucy, after a piece, was in cheery liquors, owing, I think, to some beloved cattles who came intruding towards us in a field near to the beacon, and frightened the marbless out of us. I believe we forgot everything, except of class, personal fright, and it seemed to pass over the slate clean and give us a fresh start. We had a capital `severe tea ‘ at Robin Hood ‘s Bay in a sweet small old fashioned hostel, with a bow window right over the seaweed-covered stones of the strand. I believe we should hold shocked the `New Woman ‘ with our appetencies. Work force are more tolerant, bless them! Then we walked place with some, or instead many, arrests to rest, and with our Black Marias full of a changeless apprehension of wild bulls ” ( Stoker 100 ) . Mina Harker ‘s entries are more emotional and given to the head of a lady. Dr. Van Helsing, a scientist, says in a missive to Dr. Seward: “ State your friend that when that clip you suck from my lesion so fleetly the toxicant of the sphacelus from that knife that our other friend, excessively nervous, allow faux pas, you did more for him when he wants my AIDSs and you call for them than all his great luck could make. But it is pleasance added to make for him, your friend, it is to you that I come. Have near at manus, and delight it so arrange that we may see the immature lady non excessively late on tomorrow, for it is likely that I may hold to return here that dark. But if need be I shall come once more in three yearss, and stay longer if it must. Till so adieu, my friend John ” ( Stoker 127 ) . Dr. Van Helsing on the other manus is a more scientific adult male with a touch of pitilessness and softness. And eventually, it allows us a three-sixty position of the secret plan from the eyes of each of the characters. In general, the scenes in a book with an episodic construction could be rearranged about at random without aching the work as a whole.

Besides merely concentrating on one character and confounding the readers, Stoker ‘s usage of episodic construction in the book helps maintain the readers ‘ involvement in the novel. The episodic narrative works through accretion of meaningful “ episodes ” -events, scenes, even cameos. Carol Senf says, “ An episodic narrative construction may look random at first, but connexions emerge and grow in significance. Merely when the novel is midway over, the reader gets it and the narrative has done its work by patching together the fragments like a saber saw mystifier. ” The writer uses suspense as a storytelling device instead efficaciously throughout the story.A As Franco Moretti ( an Italian literary bookman ) claims, “ Stoker does non desire a thought reader, but a scared one ” ( 12 ) . There are a just figure of parts in which the reader is left suspended on the border ofA place, eager to happen out what is to go on next.A For illustration when Harker is seeking to get away from Dracula, he says “ I shall non stay entirely with them. I shall seek to scale the palace wall farther than I have yet attempted. I shall take some of the gold with me, lest I want it subsequently. I may happen a manner from this awful topographic point. And so off for place! Away to the quickest and nearest train! Away from the curst topographic point, from this curst land, where the Satan and his kids still walk with earthly pess! At least God ‘s clemency is better than that of those monsters, and the precipice is steep and high. At its pes a adult male may kip, as a adult male. Goodbye, all. Mina! ” ( Stoker 60 ) . Then the narrative suddenly switches to Mina ‘s diary, go forthing the reader in awe. However, there were parts where suspense could be used in a mode that would heighten the gravitation of the plot.A Nonetheless, the book is written in a alone manner that allows suspense to be used easy and efficaciously built up.A Dracula is written in first individual like many other novels but so it differs slightly.A The book starts off as a first individual diary of the first character depicting his experiences, A but so it switches to person else ‘s diary, so to letters between two characters, and subsequently to a newspaper article.A It follows this form approximately throughout the book.A At assorted points, the secret plan builds up with one character ‘s diary and so it jumps to another character ‘s diary, so one must read through it before the exciting decision to that peculiar event is revealed.A At other times tax write-offs must be made on what a character has written to determine what has occurred.A There is a good illustration of this when the first character, Jonathan Harker, is imprisoned in the palace near to sunset and knows that the Count will assail him that night.A His journal terminals as he describes what he might make to get away. But the success of his flight is non apparent until the first portion of his fiance ‘s diary is completed.A This kind of suspense can be rather frustrating and raging at times.A Thus its intent is frequently defeated and the secret plan suffers.A But there is besides the more common type of suspense used where the character is on the brink of an of import find or he is in a unsafe quandary but the writer is slow to unwrap what is to happen.A When the suspense was used decently, it proved to be both interesting and really dramatic therefore maintaining the reader ‘s attending.

Due to the fact that Stoker used a series of journal entries and letters as his novel, the secret plan seems credible. As stated above, Dracula is narrated by agencies of a series of diary entries, letters, newspaper film editings and memorandums written and collected by the set of friends who oppose the Count. This narrative manner is based on the epistolatory manner which became popular in the 18th century. This signifier of narrative lends an air of immediateness and genuineness to what is, as the characters often remind us, a antic and unlikely narrative. Before the book begins, Stoker states, “ How these documents have been placed in sequence will be made manifest in the reading of them. All gratuitous affairs have been eliminated, so that a history about at discrepancy with the possibilities of later-day belief may stand Forth as simple fact. There is throughout no statement of past things wherein memory may mistake, for all the records chosen are precisely modern-day, given from the point of views and within the scope of cognition of those who made them ” ( Stoker 1 ) . Harmonizing to Hustis, their finding to “ maintain the record, ” instead in the mode of a witness statement or other official study, tells us that they are merely composing down what happened, near to the clip when it happened. There is no clip or infinite for imaginativeness to play its portion. ( 4 ) . This method of stating the narrative increases the suspense in the novel in two ways. First, if the narrative had been recalled some clip after the event, one would cognize that the character survived. But during Harker ‘s terrorizing stay in the Count ‘s palace, his day-to-day diary entries give us no hint as to whether he survived. The sudden terminal to his diary entries at the terminal of Chapter four leaves us, literally, with a cliff-hanger as he attempts an flight down the palace wall and precipice. Second, each character is limited in his or her apprehension of what is traveling on. Their narrow scientifically-based point of views will non let them to believe in lamias, so they can non perchance pull any utile decisions from the perplexing events that befall them. The readers, with the benefit of more acquaintance with lamia traditional knowledge and greater openness of head than the characters, understand more than they do, and they are able to patch together their records before they can. Therefore, one constantly wonders whether the characters will work out what is traveling on in clip to salvage themselves from the Count ‘s scheming. One disadvantage of the epistolatory manner of Dracula is that their attending is drawn to the fact that all the characters sound the same, with the exclusion of Van Helsing, whose duologues are scientific and of import to the narrative and past history of Dracula himself. However, this sameness can be seen as strength in the visible radiation of the fact that Stoker was pulling attending to the restrictions of the Western scientific point of view, which is excessively narrow and usage to societal behaviour to include the alternate world embodied by the Count. The novel is narrated really efficaciously by multiple voices- Jonathan ‘s diary of his trip to Transylvania, Mina ‘s diary, and Seward ‘s recorded diary, every bit good as letters and newspaper points. The gait is relaxed and atmospheric and the characters richer than one might anticipate, doing the fresh seem true.

The epistolatory signifier has surely been around a long clip. It is pretty popular and fiction authors have frequently seized on the signifier as a model for narratives and novel like Dracula was a successful epistolatory novels. This diverse format added a batch to this fantastic book by adding different types of text. By utilizing such a device, the writer assumes an omniscient or omniscient point-of-view, but he besides forces all the action into the past. Stoker successfully used this format of composing in an exhilarating and fast paced thriller which people know today asaˆ¦ Dracula!

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