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.

Being High is Okay in Emily Dickinson’s ‘I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed’

Bee – Getting drunk on nectar

Deciphering the meaning of poetry has been something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a teenager. My English teachers often called on me to read aloud and interpret readings while everyone else was either bored or wondered how I knew this stuff. For me, it just came natural, because I love metaphors and the hidden meaning and symbolism; it’s like finding pieces to a puzzle that solve a mystery.

Emily Dickinson’s “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” poem is a metaphor about being intoxicated on something natural. In this case, it seems that Dickinson is high on nature but compares it to be drunk on alcohol. I particularly enjoyed the symbolism of this poem, because I am also very much into “getting high” on nature. These are my interpretations of each line:

“I taste a liquor never brewed”
The author ingests something that makes her “drunk” so to speak, but since it hasn’t been brewed, Dickinson figuratively tastes it in much the same way someone might say, “I can taste success.”

“From Tankards scooped in Pearl”
Drinking alcohol from a tankard (like a small stein) made from pearl – a luxurious item and highly valued, perhaps giving a high value to her experience and being drunk/high a luxury.

“Not all the Vats upon the Rhine Yield such an Alcohol!”
There is nothing that can compare to what she is experiencing, as the vats in the Rhine are known to have very good wine, inferring that what she has is better than even the best alcohol.

“Inebriate of Air am I And Debauchee of Dew –“
The air and dew she is breathing is what makes her “drunk.”

“Reeling — thro endless summer days –
From inns of Molten Blue –” With “Molten Blue”
Capitalization here puts emphasis on something large and important to her. An inn is a bar. So her “bar” is the outside world and “molten blue” is the sky.

“When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door –“
Foxglove is a flower poisonous to humans and animals, but beneficial to bees. However, what is interesting is that foxglove is very poisonous to humans, so why she chose this particular flower is another mystery. And who are these landlords? Are they the hummingbirds that also feed from the flower, or are they the flowers themselves?

“When Butterflies — renounce their “drams” –“
A dram is about the size of a shot or two. But why would a butterfly renounce its dram? It gets full or has had enough in the same way someone who drinks would stop at some point.

“I shall but drink the more!”
She will outdrink the butterflies and bees, being one with nature.

“Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –“
Here is an angel and cloud reference.

“And Saints — to windows run –“
Saints run to see the commotion outside.

“To see the little Tippler”
Tippler = drunk person.

“Leaning against the — Sun –“
The Sun is capitalized, so again it’s very important here. It’s huge, it’s warm, it gives life, and the sun is often regarded as “God.” In other words, being high on nature is acceptable, as high as the angelic realm and equal to perfection.