Abracadabra: Language, Memory, Representation


Assignment #5: Journal

Due Date: April 25, before sunrise.

The last assignment continues assignment #2. Instead of writing Assignment #2 for Dracula you are to keep a journal about the novel.

There are 27 chapters, and your journal should have an entry at least every 3 chapters, totalling 9 entries. Once again, length is less important than quality.

Things to consider:

1) As with Assignment #2, do not write summaries. Rather, these entries should be reflections or illuminations. Pick events, dialogue or descriptions to focus on. You could decide at the outset to note the appearance of something in each chapter (the use of "information technologies, the role of gender, the importance of place, etc.).

2) Since Dracula is written as a series of Journal entries, you should be able to reflect on this aspect of the novel in your own journal. Think about the journal as a style of writing: how is it different from essay writing or from letter writing? Dracula also incorporates a few other kinds of documents: newspaper clippings, telegrams, etc. You might also consider including these in your journal.

3) Even though Dracula is written entirely in Journal entries, it manages to tell a story... will yours?

4) You might also consider the various kinds of Victorian "information technologies" that are present in the story: are they important to the plot of the story, to its telling, to both?

5) Try to contrast the tools of the present with those of the 19th century. Will you write your journal in longhand, in shorthand (like Mina) or perhaps record it on a phonograph (like Dr. Seward)? What kinds of tools are available today for similar purposes and how are they different (e.g. what's different about a digitally recorded diary or for instance, a weblog?). Are journals today always private, is there such a thing as a public journal? What makes writing for a private audience (of yourself) different from writing for a public audience? Can you really write only to yourself?

6) Consider, perhaps some other versions of the story: film versions, TV adaptations, etc. Do they have similar structures? Why or why not, do you think? The novel stresses gramophones and typewriters, what about photography and film? Why are they absent?

Christopher M. Kelty
Last modified: Mon Mar 31 12:38:23 CST 2003