238–HNY etc

Heather

Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

4 Responses

  1. Misty says:

    I agree that Stoker knew that the men were making a mistake by excluding Mina. Unfortunately, the evidence I would offer in support of my statement involves spoilers, and I can’t figure out how to say it without, um, saying it.

    With that said (unsaid?), two points come to mind. First, I believe that Stoker would have had a far more difficult time explaining to his readers why the men would have included Mina in their hunt than explaining why the men excluded her. Just as our modern sensibilities recoil at the thought of Mina being excluded because she is a woman, so too would the sensibilities of the modern reader of 1897 be offended by a woman deliberately put into a situation of such obvious peril by the very men who were supposed to protect her.

    Second, although in our belief system the men were likely guided by a misplaced sense of chivalry, there remains a cogent reason for Mina to be excluded from the vampire hunt. In a conversation between two doctors, Dr. Van Helsing notes to Dr. Seward, “And, besides, she is young woman and not so long married, there may be other things to think of some time, if not now.” In other words, Mina could be pregnant. And I think that you would be hard pressed, whether in 2012 or 1897, to find someone who agrees that a pregnant woman should be crawling around crypts and searching coffins. Now does it follow from this that Mina should have been excluded from the meetings of the men at the asylum? Although it isn’t obvious to me how exactly pregnancy precludes the possibility of helping plan a vampire hunt, I imagine that Van Helsing and Dr. Seward would object on the grounds of the mental stress that it would cause the mother-to-be.

  2. Terri says:

    So… after listening to this episode twice (actually I listen to each one twice), I want to take up the challenge. Did Stoker realize the guys were making a mistake by excluding Mina?

    I say yes. He’s built up Mina throughout as sensible, capable, and a woman of action. Even in THIS chapter Van Helsing says she has “a man’s mind.” (bit of a backhanded compliment, but there it is.) She is absolutely instrumental in this initial stage of sorting through the information they have about Dracula so they can plan their attack.

    By saying she shouldn’t have to face the actual hunt because she’s a woman, they’re simply behaving with the reflexive chivalry they’ve been steeped in all their lives. And yet, so much of this book involves all of them having to set aside the assumptions of a lifetime.

    I remember from English classes the three types of conflict–man against man, man against nature, man against himself–and that the latter is always the most interesting. Dracula has a man against man conflict on the surface–OK, man against undead. However, Dracula gets very little screen time in the novel. Much less than he ever gets in the movies. The BOOK’s major conflicts are the protagonists against themselves.

    They all have to battle their conventional wisdom about how the world works. One by one they have to overcome their own incredulity that such a creature as Dracula can even exist. And they all make mistakes. Van Helsing actually makes more mistakes than anyone. Most of his mistakes consist in not giving people enough information… but now that I think about it, that’s understandable, since most people wouldn’t believe it if he DID tell them.

    I find my heart breaking a little bit for Renfield. He tries his best to get away from Dracula’s influence. Seward and Van Helsing have both already figured out that Dracula has some sort of influence on Renfield… why don’t they help the poor guy out? At least send him to an asylum at the other end of London? Darn it! 😀 But I keep reminding myself that a story in which the protagonist(s) make no mistakes at all is not only boring but insufferable.

  3. Katie Rhodes says:

    I found this pic that I think is like what Mina would have been using in terms of a ‘forked metal’ not sure though. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/Transcription_using_cylinder_phonograph.png/547px-Transcription_using_cylinder_phonograph.png

  4. Lise Mendel says:

    I took your ‘forked metal’ challenge, and I’m guessing that something like the Théâtrophone might be what Mina got hold of – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%A9%C3%A2trophone (hope the link works with the accents..). It was invented in 1881 by Clément_Ader and was a sterophonic headphone.