Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Summary

The first several chapters of Dracula are in the form of journal entries made by Jonathan Harker, a young English solicitor (lawyer) who is traveling in Eastern Europe. He has been engaged by a Transylvanian nobleman named Count Dracula to assist in the Count’s purchase of a property in London. In the first journal entry, Harker announces his intention to keep detailed notes of all that he sees and learns in order to share his experience with his fiancée, Mina Murray. At first, Harker is an enthusiastic traveler, penning descriptions of the beautiful countryside and details of various new dishes he is served.

In Bistritz, Romania, Harker checks into a hotel recommended by the count. A letter of welcome awaits him from Count Dracula, instructing Harker to take the stagecoach the next morning to Borgo Pass in the Carpathian Mountains. There he will be met by the count’s carriage and taken the remaining distance to Castle Dracula. The next morning, Harker inquires of the innkeeper and his wife how his ticket for the coach was purchased. They do not answer, pretending not to understand his German. When he asks whether they know Count Dracula, they both cross themselves. Just before Harker leaves for the coach, the innkeeper’s wife comes into his room and pleads with him not to go to Castle Dracula. She says that it is the eve of St. George’s Day, and that “when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway.” She places a crucifix around his neck. As a Protestant, Harker finds the Catholic symbol idolatrous, but cannot refuse an offering from the concerned old woman. Moreover, there is something so ominous in her manner that he finds himself continuing to wear the crucifix even after she has gone. With some trepidation, Harker boards the stagecoach amid whispers and strange glances from the crowd of local villagers gathered round. Once seated, Harper looks up some of the Slovak words he has heard whispered and finds the following disturbing...

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Essays About Dracula