Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker: Summary & Analysis

Instructor: Ginna Wilkerson

Virginia has a Master's degree in Curriculum and Development and a Ph.D. in English

This short story written by the author of the novel ''Dracula'' was published in 1914, two years after Stoker's death. ''Dracula's Guest'' gives readers a spooky taste of Bram Stoker's classic novel.

Background to the Story

If you have read Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula, you will probably recognize the writing style and tone of this short story, ''Dracula's Guest.'' In fact, the story is an excerpt from the novel that was deleted by Stoker's publisher in order to shorten the original manuscript.

If you have read Dracula, you may also realize that, as a part of the novel as a whole, this section is easily left out without changing the plot of the novel. It does, however, give a bit of atmospheric foreshadowing of what Dracula's house is like once Jonathan (one of the novel's protagonists) arrives there.

What Happens in the Short Story

It may be interesting for you to know that this previously deleted part of the novel was published as a short story in 1914, two years after Stoker's death. As the story is told in first person and the narrator is never actually named, there is no direct connection between this story and Stoker's novel.

The basic plot is that a traveler is on a journey near the house of Dracula, although we don't hear the name Dracula until the signature on the telegram at the end of the story. On Walpurgis Night, the gentleman traveler sets out in a carriage. He is warned by the innkeeper that this might be a dangerous plan. Apparently, Walpurgis Night is believed to be a time when witches are active and spirits leave their graves to haunt the living.

Soon after the carriage sets out, they pass a side road that seems to fascinate the narrator, despite the obvious fear of the driver. They hear the cry of a wolf, and the horses rear up in fear.

Something Unseen Spooks the Horses
Frightened Horses

Ultimately, the narrator sets out on foot in spite of the driver's warnings. A snowstorm comes up as the narrator tramps through the deserted forest. Eventually, he comes to some remains of a deserted village, and then a large marble mausoleum. To find shelter, the narrator goes inside the tomb, where he sees a dead woman who has the color of a living person. He also feels the spirit's menacing presence.

A Menacing Spirit Presence
Spirit Presence

The dead woman is struck by lightening in the storm, and screams in pain, driving the poor frightened traveler out into the snow in a disoriented state. As he lies in the snow, nearly unconscious, he becomes aware of a wolf on top of him.

But rather than attacking him, the wolf seems to be protecting him until rescuers arrive.

Strange Behavior of a Wolf
Wolf in the Snow

Thankfully, rescuers soon arrive, and the man is taken back to the inn in safety. The captain of the troop who rescued our traveler insists that the hero of the incident be reported as a large dog rather than a wolf. We will see why (if you haven't guessed) in just a bit.

The very end of the story comes when it is revealed that the innkeeper received a message from the traveler's host, urging him to keep the narrator safe from harm. This message from Dracula is the reason a rescue party was sent out immediately when the carriage driver and his disturbed horses returned to the inn. Apparently, Count Dracula has greater plans in store for the man rescued in this story.

Where Is the Meaning in the Story?

Taken as a short story without any knowledge of the entire novel from which it originally came, ''Dracula's Guest'' still makes quite an effective scary story. There is the element of danger involved in the traveler's isolation in the snowstorm and the presence of wolves about the city - and this is before we even consider the supernatural aspects.

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