Title: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Genre: Science Fiction/Gothic Mystery
Published: 1886 during the Victorian time period
Protagonist: Henry Jekyll
Antagonist: Edward Hyde
Summary: Henry "Harry" Jekyll is a well respected member of London society. In his personal life, he is pre-engaged to Muriel Carew, the daughter of a brigadier general. In his professional life, he is a medical doctor, scientist and academician. He theorizes that in each man is a good side and an evil side which can be separated into two. In doing so, the evil side can be controlled and the good side can live without worry, in combination leading to the betterment of society. In his experiments, he uses himself as the subject to test his hypothesis. His evil side, who he coins Mr. Hyde, escapes into London, and terrorizes party-girl Ivy Pierson. Jekyll, aware of Hyde's goings-on, decides to stop his experiments because of the suffering he has caused Ivy. What Jekyll is unaware of is how ingrained Hyde is in Jekyll's life. Key Themes: The duality of human nature, the importance of reputation Literary Elements: Symbols-Jekyll’s house and laboratory, Hyde’s appearance
Motifs-Violence against innocents, silence, urban terror
Point of View-For most of the novel, the narrative follows Utterson’s point of view; in the last two chapters, Lanyon and Jekyll report their experiences from their own perspectives
Foreshadowing: While a general mood of impending disaster pervades the novel, there are a few instances of explicit foreshadowing
“He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no hand of it; I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory; for I declare I can see him this moment.” This quotation appears in Chapter 1, “Story of the Door,” when Enfield is telling Utterson about how he saw Hyde mercilessly trample a little girl. Utterson asks Enfield to describe the way Hyde looks, but Enfield, as the quote shows, is not able to clearly describe him. However, he is able to say that Hyde is deformed, ugly, and makes you feel disgusted, yet he cannot clearly say why Hyde makes him feel this way. Enfield’s inability to describe Mr. Hyde is not the only time that characters have trouble describing the man. Utterson, as well as witnesses describing Hyde to the police, cannot come up with a detailed description of the man. Most people determine that he appears ugly and deformed in an indescribable way. The incapability to illustrate Hyde’s appearance creates an impression of Hyde as a mysterious figure, someone whose deformity is truly elusive, enigmatic, and perceptible only with some sort of sixth sense for which no vocabulary exists. It is almost as if words themselves fail when they try to come to grips with Hyde, he is beyond words, just as he is beyond morality and conscience. As a supernatural creation, he does not quite belong in the world; therefore, he escapes the conceptual faculties of normal human beings. Journal 2
The book and the movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde weren’t too different. The 1920 silent film, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” wasn’t too different from the book. Even though this film version of the book was silent, I could still tell what was happening in the movie because I compared what was going on in the film to the book as I watched it. The film and the book were actually very similar. I believed the reason for this was because the movie was silent and the director had to portray it more accurately to the book.
Much like other movie remakes of books, there were some differences between the book and the movie. One of the major differences is how each medium portrays the characters differently. In the book, Dr. Jekyll is portrayed as more of an intellectual character or a “doctor” but in the movie he is portrayed as a “crazy scientist.” I like that the author did this because it made the movie more exciting in opposition to the book. Mr. Utterson is also portrayed differently. In the book he is portrayed as an honest character, much more than in the movie. In the book, Mr. Utterson advises Dr. Jekyll against some of his actions more strongly than in the movie, but I think the director did this for dramatic effect.
The way Mr. Hyde is portrayed in the movie is very accurate. The movie shows Mr. Hyde as truly being a monster just like in the book. The only difference is that in the movie, the transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde is much more dramatic. The movie shows the transformation as being extremely gruesome and dramatic whereas in the book the transformation takes longer and is less extreme.
”It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognize the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date . . . I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements.” This quotation appears midway through Chapter 10, “Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case," which is made up of the letter that Jekyll leaves for Utterson. The letter finally gives us some insight into the events from the novel on the inside. In this passage, Jekyll discusses the years leading up to his discovery of the potion that transforms him into Hyde. He summarizes his theory of humanity’s dual nature, which states that human beings are half virtuous and half criminal, half moral and half amoral. Jekyll’s goal in his experiments is to separate these two halves, creating a being of pure good and a being of pure evil. In this way he seeks to divide his good side from the bad side, while keeping his evil side from delivering pangs of conscience. Jekyll succeeds only in separating out Hyde, his evil half, while he remains a mix of good and bad. Eventually, Hyde begins to take over Jekyll’s personality, until Jekyll ceases to exist and only Hyde remains. This end result suggests an error in Jekyll’s original assumptions. Maybe, in contrast to his belief, Jekyll did not possess an equally balanced good half and evil half. The events of the novel indicate that the dark side (Hyde) in humans is far stronger than the rest of us, so strong that once sent free, this side takes over completely. Journal 4
Dr. Jekyll is a good person who follows the rules. He reads books about religion, he does charity work, and the dinner parties he throws for his bachelor friends are focused on science, religion, and literature. But Dr. Jekyll has a secret; he longs to be evil and give in to many unspecified "appetites." I believe that the appetites that he refers to may have something to do with his name, "Je" in French means "I," while "kyll" = kill. Therefore I believe that the virtuous Dr. Jekyll wants to become a ruthless killer. After extensive research, Dr. Jekyll decides that all men are both good and evil, and that separating the two facets would be the clear thing to do. Dr. Jekyll, who is a scientist as well as a doctor, experiments with a variety of potions with this goal in mind. He eventually mixes a potion that, when consumed, turns him into Mr. Hyde. Instead of being a "large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty with every mark of capacity and kindness," he morphs into another person entirely, a dark person bent on committing acts of evil. Despite Dr. Jekyll’s alternate persona, it is noted that Dr. Jekyll has a conscience. He knows what he’s doing is bad. He goes as far as to admit his guilt while he is Dr. Jekyll. He sometimes works to fix the harm that he caused as Mr. Hyde, but eventually he just couldn’t help himself. He had to participate in the world of pleasure and crime no matter what the cost.
Chapter 9 finally allows the reader to see the nature of Dr. Jekyll’s relationship to his darker half, Mr. Hyde. The men are both the same person. Lanyon’s narrative offers a smaller mystery within the larger mystery of the book: the doctor is presented with a confusing arrangement of instructions from his friend Jekyll and has no idea what the instructions mean. We know more than Lanyon, of course, and realize that the small man who strikes Lanyon with a “disgustful curiosity” must be the one and only Mr. Hyde. But even this information does not lessen the shocking effect of the climax of the novel, the moment when we finally witness the integration of the two identities. Through the astonished eyes of Lanyon, Stevenson offers detailed description, using vivid language and imagery to help the reader visualize the supernatural events. Even with all the details that the doctor’s account includes, this chapter provides very little explanation of what Lanyon sees. We learn that Hyde and Jekyll are the same person and that the two personas can morph into one another with the aid of a mysterious concoction. As to how or why this situation came about, we remain largely in the dark. What we find out is that Jekyll told Lanyon everything after the transformation was complete, but he avoids telling Utterson, declaring that “[w]hat he told me in the next hour I cannot bring my mind to set on paper.” Part 3
Dear Joe Cribbin,
I just read the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and I loved this book, beginning to end due to its intricate characterization, tough vocabulary, and its meaningful theme. I think that it does a great job of displaying both the good and evil sides of man. It gets in touch with the hatred hidden inside most humans that society does not let them express. I totally recommend this book to everyone who can read. It uses great narratives from Mr. Enfield, Mr. Hyde and Dr. Lanyon that really get the reader(s) to look at every characters point of view. I think that this is a great book to expand the reader’s vocabulary. It also gives you knowledge of the forces of good and evil and a reason to look at all sides of an argument. If you have not yet read this book, I recommend you do so. It will help you as well as all others who have come up against a situation in which they have misused their power to do wrong. After reading this book, you can help others around you from making a mistake, and keep yourself from doing the same. In case you are still skeptical as to whether or not you want to read this, here is a short summary of the book. Henry "Harry" Jekyll is a well respected member of London society. In his personal life, he is pre-engaged to Muriel Carew, the daughter of a brigadier general. In his professional life, he is a medical doctor, scientist and academician. He theorizes that in each man is a good side and an evil side which can be separated into two. In doing so, the evil side can be controlled and the good side can live without worry, in combination leading to the betterment of society. In his experiments, he uses himself as the subject to test his hypothesis. His evil side, who he coins Mr. Hyde, escapes into London, and terrorizes party-girl Ivy Pierson. Jekyll, aware of Hyde's goings-on, decides to stop his experiments because of the suffering he has caused Ivy. What Jekyll is unaware of is how ingrained Hyde is in Jekyll's life. Sincerely,