Look! Bending over Lucy! It’s a shadow! It’s a figure! It’s…something?

“When I got almost to the top I could see the seat and the white figure, for I was now close enough to distinguish it even through the spells of shadow. There was undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over the half-reclining white figure. I called in fright, ‘Lucy! Lucy!’ and something raised a head, and from where I was I could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes.”

In the above passage, there is evidence of gothic elements that contribute to the monstrous nature displayed in Dracula. For instance, the juxtaposing repetitions of white and black (along with shadow and light) contribute to the chilling setting. In addition, the colors play with purity and corruption. Furthermore, Dracula is constantly referred to as a “figure”, “it”, and “something”, an unrecognizable and monstrous abomination of nature that cannot and will not be named. With this doubt of what Dracula is in this passage, there is a mood of eerie uncertainty that further emphasizes the concept of fearing the unknown.

The utter powerlessness Jonathan feels comes from not being able to identify the something before him. If we know the name of something, it helps to ease our fear of it. You could say that true names hold power. Actually, this reminds me of holding control over a demon when you discover and say it’s real name. 

3 thoughts on “Look! Bending over Lucy! It’s a shadow! It’s a figure! It’s…something?”

  1. Not only does this passage emphasize the fear of the unknown, but I also think that it expresses a certain fear of the known. We have talked about the importance of silence and theme of sexual assault. The use of the word “figure” acknowledges the human that bends over Lucy, yet the words “it” and “something” emphasize an unwillingness on Mina’s part to acknowledge the fact that she is witnessing the assault by another “person.” Her language betrays her disbelief, but can still be easily missed, perhaps her intention to hide from herself and others the reality of the situation.

  2. I feel like this is similar to what I was talking about in my blog post about “the unknown”. The words such as “something” and “figure” depict the concept of not fully understanding what is being seen. This can also relate to what Lucy experiences where she cannot recall what specifically occurred. I also agree with the comment above that the use of “it” and “something” detaches the belief that Mina feels about the situation.

  3. Aside from the sexual attraction to the known versus the unknown, and the fear or anticipation that builds in regards to the fear of the mysterious, this also reminds me of the uncertainty of the future for the British Empire during this time. We’ve spoken countless times about how the entirety of social structure and culture was at the brink of collapse, while being more successful than ever. This uncertainty and looming darkness countered with light imagery mirrors the dark, uncertain that gripped most British people, but also in the light of many collective successes.

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