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Recently, I finished reading Dracula, by Bram Stoker.  It’s a book I had been meaning to read for a long time, and finally got around to it.  It was also the first eBook I read, but more on that later.

First, let’s get this out of the way: if you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and grab a copy from Project Gutenberg.  It’s a fast read, and you’ll be glad you did.  But don’t read the reast of this!  Spoilers to follow.

Next, I wanted to discuss the two different climaxes in the book.  I was surpised, after having read it and perusing the SparkNotes, that the climax of the book happened so early: with the killing of Lucy Westenra in her tomb.  Looking back on it, I can understand why that was such a turning point, but the climax?  There’s two ways to look at it:

First, If you place the book in its context, and understand what Lucy represents of the Victorian woman (i.e. the New Woman influenced by the feminist movement of the time), then her alter ego’s death at the hands of her husband was indeed the most important part of the book.  It brought her back into the realm of the pure and chaste, the Victorian aspirational figure, rather than the abomination she had become.

Second, if you picked up Dracula as a novel to read for its suspense (ignoring the symbolism of the New Woman), then the climax was most certainly the death of Count Dracula along the road to his castle.  Over the course of many pages, the pursuers relentlessly chased the Count until the battle with the gypsies.  This climax was hard to miss for any reader.

I find it particularly interesting that a book could have two climactic scenes, depending on how you read it.  Could this be one of the more appealing aspects of the novel, one that’s contributed to its logevity?  Perhaps readers over the years have turned back to it to discover these different interpretations, adding a depth to the book not available upon a single casual reading.

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