Breaking Apart?

To be honest, I was considerably bored with Jekyll and Hyde until page 45 of this 61 page story. However, after page 45 I found the “mystery” more engaging. The exploration of “the two parts” presented in this book wasn’t my favorite (by far), but I do appreciate it. I’m also starting to appreciate the blogs more as well now. Thanks to Kyle’s blog, I understand the framing/narration aspect much better now having a new perspective. So I shall wait to make a decision about the book until after the lecture and seminars. Alas, here are some of the thoughts this book left me with:

Even when taking the mixture, Jekyll never “looses” or disassociates himself from Hyde completely; he always knows that Hyde exists and is still a part of him. The penman-ship of Jekyll and Hyde is an interesting aspect. Hyde has pretty much identical hand writing to Jekyll, or is it the other way around? How can you determine whose handwriting it is, if both parts were once one, but this one physical attribute appears to be one of the only remaining aspects of Jekyll’s being.  Is the cause of Jekyll’s “fall/death” because remnants of the evil that thrive in Hyde, are still present in Jekyll, so he still does not consist of “one pure and one evil” portion, but one evil and one contaminated portion?

But at the same time as Jekyll recognizes his “attachment” with Hyde, he also kind of denounces it as once being a part of him that changes to something completely other. At the beginning of his experiences as Hyde, he completely embraces both personalities and even works to remedy the conscience of the other. However, as he loses his ability of voluntary change, I understood him to recognize Hyde as Satan due to his visit with Lanyon when he says “your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satan”(p.46). This makes me wonder if Jekyll began to see  Hyde as a creature that was no longer just himself, but proof that Satan does exist. This reminds me of exorcisms and an attempt to “rid the body of the evil being residing within”. I wonder if this is story is merely a spin off of old tales of evil spirits, as an explanation for them. It is almost as if Stevenson is trying to say that we all have “Satan” already living within us, and all that is needed is a catalyst for our own form of Satan to appear.


Yes, this is ridiculously late, and I apologize for disrupting the flow of posts on Nietzsche but I feel that it is important to get these thoughts down.

Frankenstein is such a curious tale/story, that I wonder why there aren’t more “recent” interpretations. This was my first time reading Shelly’s work, and it has left me an array of emotions, speculations and questions about the characters and oh how it is still so pertinent in our lives today. I feel as if Margret Atwood’s book “Oryx and Crake” takes an interesting spin off of the quest for knowledge and the consequences of pushing science-life boundaries too far. I say this thinking of the occasional scientific discovery that gets media attention because of controversy brought up by religious groups/the pope.
(I’m not trying to stir anything up by this statement, just trying to articulate a thought)

Science and religion have always been at odds, and I definitely felt a tension between the two in Shelly’s writing. Just as Victor survives the blinding passions that lead to his creation’s existence, the creation becomes the maker of Victor’s ruin. At times, it almost appeared as if Shelly were trying to show, not only what happens when you push the boundaries of knowledge and science, but what happens when a human plays the role of “God”.

Another thought: it was interesting how both Victor and the creation felt that life was more miserable than death, but neither of them could die peacefully without knowing that the other had also perished. But if they were so miserable living, and they wanted to continue the other’s suffering, couldn’t one have them died, knowing that then, suddenly, the other would no longer have meaning for his own life? This goes well with Nietzsche when he says “Man would rather have the will for nothing, than have nothing to will for”. With the creation’s birth and existence, Frankenstein had purpose and meaning to his life. While the creature sought happiness and acceptance but could not acquire them without Frankenstein, so when this became impossible, the creature’s existence only had meaning in the destruction of Frankenstein.

Here again, the relationship between “God” and his creation of man is replicated. In my understanding  of westernized religion, essentially, it is giving meaning to people’s lives. Without the morals and guidelines that are established within religions, there would be no “route to heaven” / no reason to be “good” people. Frankenstein and his creation don’t show this exactly, but I feel as if there are many parallels between the two.

I don’t know, let me know what you think if this sparks a reaction from you.
I hope I didn’t offend anyone.

Being a hermit?

Oh Rousseau, so poetic but almost to a fault. Throughout reading his discourse my opinion on his ideas changed between agreement and confusion at his claims. His statements on evolution morph between questions to statements that are incredulous to me. He says “how can scarcity drive men to cultivate the land unless the land is divided among them; that is to say, until the state of nature has been abolished?”  However, if man during his state of nature lived among wild animals (such as packs of wolves, or coyotes, or bears), in theory he would have had to learn about territory and division of land before interacting with other “humans”. As other animals mark and protect their territory, I assume it would have become apparent after sometime that the animals have their own space they don’t want taken away or trespassed upon. Man’s understanding of a division of land would have started with his instinct and understanding of how to survive amongst wild creatures and therefore would have developed an understanding of the importance of dividing the land.

I realize that there are faults in these thoughts, but I just can’t agree with his theory that the state of nature was as peaceful and calm as Rousseau depicts it because of the wildness of nature. He claims every other creature is exactly the same over the course of thousands of years and never changes, but how can mankind be just as much of a warm-blooded creature as the rest, and be the only animal to have evolved? Yes, humans have made huge leaps in evolution that make all the difference between us and wild animals, but contradictory to what Rousseau claims, an animal/species will change and evolve over the course of a thousand years (although minimally).

Rousseau has interesting thoughts to read, and I have enjoyed reading them but also have difficulty with taking him seriously after certain statements/claims he makes. Kevin, although I challenged you on your own blog post, after writing my own I understand what you were aiming for by deconstructing Hobbes and Rousseau’s theories of “laws”. Rousseau’s understanding of evolution has made me wonder if science has really changed so much of our understanding of the world today, then it did all those years ago.

After finishing Rousseau, I’m still not sure if I enjoyed reading his discourse. The poetic moments were a nice break, but don’t make up for some of his statements.