An Atmosphere of Fear and Horror in the Opening Chapter of Dracula by Bram Stoker

An Atmosphere of Fear and Horror in the Opening Chapter of Dracula by Bram Stoker

The novel of Dracula is written by Bram Stoker It was written in the

early 19th century and at this time there was much mystery and

suspicion surrounding such places as Transylvania where the book is

set. The book's form is that it's written as a journal by the main

character, Jonathon Harker. The fact that it's written as a journal

makes the whole book seem more believable, and it's as though he's

actually writing his experiences as they're happening, and his

thoughts and feelings make it seem more personal and seem more


The opening chapter begins with a naïve traveller, not knowing a lot

about where he is and where he is heading. This is shown in the book

when Harker comments, " I was not able to light on any map or work

giving the exact locality of the Castle of Dracula". This creates an

atmosphere of fear as Harker knew as little about what was

happening/going to happen as the reader, creating suspense and making

the reader want to read on, as they want to know what will happen.

Jonathon Harker seems uneasy very early on in the book. This is

depicted in the book when he writes, "I did not sleep well, though my

bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams". This

hints to the reader that Harker is subconsciously worried and creates

even more anxiety. Strange dreams or visions are typical in Gothic

horror stories, and disturbing dreams and visions may be seen as a

sign to the reader, that he is having premonitions. When Harker

arrives at Bistritz, he describes it as a "very interesting old

place". The words "old" an...

... middle of paper ...

...the moonlit sky". Stoker describes the

vast ruined castle as rundown, and gives the reader anticipation as it

obviously has a history, as it is battered and run down. By describing

the windows as "tall black windows with no ray of light" Stoker has

created an atmosphere of darkness, this is mirrored with Jonathon's

darkening outlook as he realises what he has gotten himself into.

This ends the chapter with a creepy picture in the readers mind. It

creates an atmosphere of suspense and scariness, and the reader is

urged to keep on. The build up of tension throughout the chapter gives

the reader feelings of terror and horror. A typical gothic setting

with good description of reactions, thoughts and feelings are well

written and believable, and Bram Stoker successfully achieves to

create an atmosphere of fear and horror.
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