Dracula: Novel vs. Movie

Efe Nesiama 4th Period English Literature Pearce

Background

Dracula, by Bram Stoker, is a novel that has a myriad of themes about the changing times in the early 20th century. One of the particular themes that Stoker covers concerns the behavior of women. In Dracula, Stoker depicts women as pure and virtuous, though they have a large propensity to be sinful in nature. This characteristic is further emphasized by the strong biblical allusions with in the text. Furthermore, in the 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula, the film heavily plays off of this theme, depicting the purity of women through their innocence and virginity. The director's choice in the displaying of certain scenes creates wide variances when compared with Stoker's novel. Several of the differences will be covered below.

Order of Journal/Diary Entries

One of the more important differences that was noticed initially was the order of the journal entries. The entire novel is based off letters and journal entries from the main characters that tell the story. In the movie, that isn't entirely true, yet it utilizes the letters and entries to emphasize the effect of the time period. The difference though is that the letters and entries in the movie are given in chronological order, whilst the novel gives them in a more character based order. Ex) Harker's entries -> Mina's Entries -> Lucy's Letter's. I believe the reason this was done was to add a more fluid flow to the plot. It allows the audience to easier follow the gist of the film.

Lucy's Character

In the novel, Lucy was described as a rather rich, slightly wild, yet good young lady. Mina described her as having the ability to speak her mind, yet able to be good at heart. In addition, she claims that most of her behavior was a result of Lucy's social standing and wealth. In the movie, much of this is the same, yet the director seems to have had Lucy's promiscuous side exaggerated, when seen when she and Mina are overlooking Arabian Knights (obscene drawings) and when she flirts with all three of her proposers in one night. The reasoning behind this was more than likely to add flare and emphasis on Lucy's character, as she is the first one to be 'seduced' by Dracula and have her purity stolen for her. Also, Stoker had social limitations when writing Dracula in his time that more than likely would not accept such obscene behavior of a lady that was depicted in the film.

Dracula's Brides

When Harker goes searching Dracula's castle after dark (against Dracula's warnings), he stumbles into a room with a couch in which he falls asleep. He is awakened by three beautiful women who then began to arouse him, this continues to the point where one of the women is moments from biting his neck right when Dracula appears and banishes them away from Harker...at least in the novel. In the film however, Harker stumbles into a mist/fog filmed room with cobwebs all over. He falls onto a low-risen bed chamber, where half-naked vampiresses began to sexually arouse him. This continues much farther than the novel , leading to the point where one of the brides actually melts his crucifix and the others began to feast off his blood. This vast difference is the result in much of the other differences, which is changing time periods. Had Stoker had written descriptions closer to the film, his book never would have sold a copy since it was socially unacceptable. On the other hand, due to the more liberal society of the 1990s, the producer of the film was able to 'show more' than the novel was allowed, which in turn enhanced the theme that Stoker had laid within the novel.

Dracula's Demise

According to the novel, Dracula meets his death by Harker gruesomely slitting his thraot, with Quincey, using his dying breath, to stake Dracula. This, is essence, reduces Dracula to dust, breaking his curse. In the movie, however, Dracula survives Quincey's stake. Mina fends off Van Helsing and his party and helps Dracula retreat into his castle, where he begs her for death and forgiveness from God. Mina eventually kills him by driving the stake through his heart. This finally redeems Dracula for his sins and the curse is (assumed to be) broken. Now the reasoning behind this act, in my honest opinion is more flare and drama for the movie. It would have been decent if the director followed Stoker and had the same ending, but in the way that the movie was planned out, it definitely increased the suspension and the drama towards the climax of the final battle.
Bram Stoker's Dracula (6/8) Movie CLIP - Take Me Away From All This Death (1992) HD

Ending

Finally, the ending of the novel differs from the movie. At the end of the novel, Mina and Harker continue their married life in peace and happiness. They eventually have a child, whom they name after all four men in their Van Helsing's Hunt Dracula Party, but refer to only as Quincey. In the movie, however, this is replaced with the touching scene between Mina and Dracula, where Mina kill him. The difference between the two is that it is never actually confirmed if the curse is broken or if Mina went to live the rest of her days with Harker. Now there really isn't any true reasoning this was done over how the novel played out. Perhaps it was the directors whim to make the movie have this ending because it better fitted lucrative purposes (audience would prefer movie ending).

Overall

Like mentioned before, the movie was more or less, an exaggeration of the Stoker's main theme concerning women's purity and innocence. Dracula represented the propensity of women's sinful nature which is why he was able to 'steal' it from them (depicted by him turning them to undead creatures in novel and in movie, albeit in a more seductive way). The movie utilizes the theme through more seductive acts by Dracula and the women as well as the use of sound and Gothic images to create the horror-sense in that Stoker used in his novel. The lack of the uses of entries and letters in the movie was replaced by the images and sound that Stoker did not have the liberty of using in the novel. These modern utilizations allowed for an enhanced understanding of Stoker's themes and purpose of the novel.