Number Puzzles and Symbolism in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

I have never been a fan of vampire books or movies, so when I found out that I had to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula AND write an essay, I cringed. How was I going write a paper about something I don’t enjoy reading? That’s when I had to pick a creative straw and noted the amount of numbers used throughout the story. Since the word-count limited me to less than 350 words, I chose to write about the number symbolism in the story’s first chapter using Avia Venefica’s wonderful site as a resource for symbolism. If you’re familiar with number symbolism and the original story of Dracula, you might understand what I’m about to explain.

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Jonathan Harker is traveling to fulfill a real estate transaction when he begins his journal on May 3rd (May is the 5th month, so I will refer to it as the number five.) Going by Avia Venefica’s symbolism website as a reference, the number five indicates travel, which is what Harker’s journal entries tell the reader he is doing. The number 3 indicates intuition and magic – all of which are coming into the near future. He had already stated his internal fear. Five and three (May 3rd) gives us eight, a number meaning business and wealth – again revealing to us what Harker expects from the transaction.

“3 May. Bistritz.— Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late…. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.”

Harker had left Munich on the 1st of the month. With the number one representing new beginnings, this correlates with Harker’s real estate deal he is attempting to encounter and also kind of a foreboding that this is certainly a new beginning of which he is completely unaware. May 1st is a five and a one, added together making a six, with 6 meaning balance. Not only is this what Harker had in mind, but also could represent the balancing forces of good and evil.

Harker states that the train should have arrived at 6:46, but arrived an hour late instead. Six shows up twice representing balance, but could it mean that twice of it is an imbalance? And the number 4 represents stability. All of the numbers added together (6+4+6=16; 6+1=7) show us that seven’s generalized symbolism are magical forces and mystery. The journal entries hint that something is going awry or odd with the trip, especially with all of the mysterious whispering and strange reactions from the people around Harker. Since the train arrived an hour later (7:46), the number seven appears again. Adding those figures (7+4+6=17; 1+7=8) shows us that Harker is still expecting a business transaction.

On May 4th, Harker’s diary indicates that his landlord received a letter from the Count concerning the trip, repeating the notion of travel (five) and stability (four). Harker arrives at the castle on May 5th, the fifth day of the fifth month. Being that 5+5 adds up to 10 in numerology, this reinforces that Harker is facing a new beginning. Harker, having no idea what is in store for him, will experience the beginning of the end of his life.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker – Every Woman Needs to Read This!

A friend suggested I read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It is probably the best self-help book suggestions I’ve ever been given.

The Gift of Fear tells us that what most of us consider fear is actually anxiety, because real fear is a survival signal that causes us to react in a way to fight for our lives. The author also gives several examples of when and why we should fear something, and there are several warning signs to look for before we should react. De Becker also notes that our intuition is the number one thing that alerts us to fear – but most people are in denial. He includes examples in the workplace, families, dating, and dealing with strangers.

A few weeks ago a strange man had approached me in a store. I had an odd feeling about him when he asked me if I was “Jim Tate’s wife”, as he suggestively looked me up and down and stood a little too close for my comfort. I got the impression that he’d made up “Jim Tate” altogether. When I informed him that I was not “Jim Tate’s wife”, he asked me whom I was married to. Luckily, I had just finished reading The Gift of Fear, and I knew that this creepy man was fishing for information that was clearly none of his business. I looked him in the eye, lied and said, “I’m married to my husband,” before walking away. As I walked up to the checkout counter, my intuition told me that this guy was still in the store, and I did not want him behind me, because he was still watching. I got out of line and walked over to a clearance rack and noticed that the man walked out of the store without buying anything. Odd? Yes! Would he have done something to me had I not listened to my gut feelings? Would he have followed me home? I don’t know, but I wasn’t about to give him the opportunity.

Not coincidentally, while I was reading the book’s chapter on dating, I noticed that one of my friends had just started online dating with a man that presented some warning signs. I knew this prior to reading the book, but The Gift of Fear confirmed my own gut feelings about this person, and sure enough, this man had previous domestic violence charges and convictions against him.

When we hear something on the news or in social media every day about someone getting robbed, raped, kidnapped, or murdered, humans have a tendency to think that we are not safe, that something is going to happen to us, even though there is a slim chance. De Becker suggests that we don’t need to live our lives in fear of everything, to enjoy life – because when the time comes to be afraid, our intuition will kick in and alert us. Otherwise, we are wasting time fearing things that will most likely never happen, and our “tuning” will be finer if we turn off anxiety.

I would highly suggest for anyone to read this, but I think The Gift of Fear is especially significant for women – because women tend to live in fear more often than men for obvious reasons. I definitely rate this book 5 stars, because it provides the necessary tools we all need in order to protect ourselves.