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An Atmosphere of Fear and Horror in the Opening Chapters of Dracula

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An Atmosphere of Fear and Horror in the Opening Chapters of Dracula

One of the ways in which Stoker creates an atmosphere of fear and

horror is through character. A young naïve inexperienced traveller is

going to meet a man known as the Count. He is travelling in the

"horseshoe of the Carpathians" where every known superstition is

gathered in "some sort of imaginative whirlpool". There is an irony in

the fact that Jonathan is calm at the beginning of the novel yet he

has no idea what is in store for him. As Jonathan gets closer to the

BorgoPassand the Count's castle, the more his nerves start to shake.

He is also unsettled by the fact that his host from the hotel that he

is staying at begs him not to leave. This reveals that the night that

he is leaving is the night when "all the evil things in the world will

have full sway" and leads Jonathan to feel very uneasy. The night

before he had "had all sorts of queer dreams" of a dog howling. This

is a disturbing dream and relates to the howling of dogs and wolves

later on in the novel when the wolves are circling the carriage with

"lolling red tongues", this depicts danger and is emphasised when a

"paralysis of fear" over comes Jonathan. His suspicions are aroused

again as when he is setting off from his hotel. All the guests

gathered outside guard him "against the evil eye". Jonathan is

unnerved as it is "not very pleasant" and this isn't helped with,

again, a "blessing" against the evil eye.

Stoker creates an air of fear and mystery when Jonathan changes over

coaches by describing his new coach driver in detail but leaving his

identity anonymous. The drivers description itself is rathe...

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"Dracula" bloods were amongst the leaders who won the "warlike days"

All of these elemental factors help to generate an atmospheric

concoction of fear and horror and is unquestionably a fine example of

a gothic text.

The metaphors and similes that Stoker uses conjure up powerful images.

"grip of steel" is just one of the ways in which Stoker depicts the

strength of Dracula. Another simile "as cold as ice", in the context

of the novel makes you want to shiver.

Generally Stoker uses gothic descriptive words "portent", "grief",

"ominous", "melancholy" and "astonished" to describe many feelings and

objects like when Mina is astonished when Miss Lucy Westenra has gone

sleep walking. These small words have the effect of drawing the reader

into his creation of an atmospheric gothic world of fear and horror.
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