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I'm reading Dracula at the moment for the first time. At the start of Chapter 6, Mina's journal describes meeting up with her friend Lucy in Whitby (a town in the North of England). However, as far as I can tell, the text doesn't seem to give any clear reason as to why they are there. Chapter 5 previously featured some letters they had been writing to each other; however, I don't recall any mention there of a planned trip to Whitby.

Dracula mentions earlier in the book to Johnathan Harker about his plan to have some goods shipped to Whitby and then on to his new residence in London. So, there is clearly a Whitby link; however, it doesn't explain what Mina and Lucy are doing there at this point. Have they gone there to do some business scouting for Harker, in relation to the contract with Dracula? Or have they just gone there for a vacation (in which case it would seem to be a huge coincidence)?

Later in Chapter 6, Mina states she is sad that she hasn't had a letter from Jonathan. However, why would she be expecting to receive a letter when she is away from home (unless she is having her mail forwarded)?

Perhaps I have missed something, or some of the reasoning will be revealed later in the book, but is anyone able to shed some light on this?

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  • litcharts.com/lit/dracula/chapter-6 It's a vacation/resort town and readers from that time period would have known that.
    – Lambie
    Feb 18 at 17:50
  • @Lambie thanks, but I am aware of that. I am from the UK and there are dozens of such resort towns around the coast of England. Why did the two ladies happen to pick the same town that Dracula was planning to arrive at?
    – Time4Tea
    Feb 18 at 21:55
  • I mean, if the answer is it's just a coincidence, then fair enough. However, it would be a very big coincidence for them to have been in the exact same coastal town at the same time.
    – Time4Tea
    Feb 18 at 21:57
  • It could just be fortuitous, right? Authors do that all the time, don't they?
    – Lambie
    Feb 18 at 21:57

1 Answer 1

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Chapter 5 does explain that they are planning to meet, in Mina's first letter to Lucy - first she says:

The life of an assistant schoolmistress is sometimes trying. I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.

and then later in the same letter:

I will tell you of my little plans when we meet.

It seems she is referring to plans they've already made to meet together in Whitby, by the sea; upon Mina arriving there, Lucy and her mother have already taken rooms in a house in The Crescent.

As to why they choose to holiday in Whitby, and whether there's a link to Dracula choosing to make landfall here - I believe this is indeed just a coincidence. Of course, outside of the novel Bram Stoker set the story here to draw on the real life shipwreck of the Dmitry, and his own experiences in Whitby. It's certainly not unusual for the women to holiday in Whitby, which leaves the only real unusual aspect why Dracula chose to arrive in Whitby and then travel south; but that can be explained as being to tie in with the real life shipwreck, which was actually heading for Newcastle and forced to shelter in Whitby because of the storm.

(With regards to letters, it seems Mr Hawkins is forwarding Mina's post to her - he sends her on one in chapter six, and then another correspondence later on.)

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  • Thanks for your answer. I'm reading an annotated edition and there is some interesting background there about how Stoker was familiar with Whitby and so tried to tie some of the events set there in the book into real-life events that had occurred. However, as you suggest, it does seem to be a coincidence that the two ladies happened to be there just as Dracula arrived, which seems a bit contrived for the sake of narrative convenience. I don't mean to knock the book though, I am enjoying it so far.
    – Time4Tea
    Feb 21 at 20:29

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