Soooo.. not sure about anyone else, but I was ecstatic to finally read a text that was not written by a philosopher. After many weeks of focusing on philosophical texts, reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was definitely a healthy alternative. Now prior to reading this text, I have heard quite about it. I always knew the basic concept of the story, with the split personalities, but reading this piece was long over due for me. I thought it was really interesting, and the huge contrast between both personalities just kept me glued to my book.
I’d say that perhaps one of the main things that I particularly enjoyed about this book, were the two characters (well, one technically). Before actually reading this story, the only “split” personalities I’ve ever really been familiar with are the ones we see in graphic novels. Spiderman and Peter Parker, Iron Man and Tony Stark… a seemingly normal individual with a completely, contrasting, alternate life. And this is basically the same case with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This duality portrays the battle between an age-old debate: good and evil. It shows how balancing both and trying to keep up with both immensely contrasting views can work for a while but in the end, one side will prevail. Now I obviously wasn’t shocked upon reading that the seemingly harmless Dr. Jekyll exhibits satanic and monstrous traits. However, in spite of his character being an obvious one to every reader, reading this text made me dig deeper and ponder what I believe is one of the underlying messages from Stevenson. The emphasis on dual personalities tells the reader of the evils that lie within each of us. That malevolent voice that lurks within our souls, which at sometimes, and in some instances, prevails over the good in us. That temptation, that desire to give in…. and the man who is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde exposes this struggle to us.
Anyways, in a nutshell, I found Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to be both a (very very) refreshing as well as enticing read. I completely loved the whole thing and it shined light on a disorder that people struggle with in reality as well. By reading this, I got a better understanding of just how problematic and serious of a condition this is as well. Reading Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde reveals to us, that without a strong sense of will and self-assurance and strength, we have the potential to easily give in to negative influences. But yeah… Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks tomorrow!
In my opinion, reading Nietzsche was a bit of a task for me. To be honest, I don’t really find much enjoyment in reading philosophical texts. Perhaps it’s just difficult for me to understand what the philosophers are trying to get across to the reader, or maybe it’s because I simply cannot really understand what they’re trying to convey at all… I basically don’t really take that much of a likings to philosophy.. and Nietzsche’s essay didn’t really change my opinion on this either. I found that it was particularly hard to fully understand and agree with some of his points; granted, I did find them interesting however, but I still had much difficulty with this read. I found that he takes a different, more diverse and I guess to some, a shocking approach in conveying his opinions in the text. With that being said, I still found some of his ideas to be quite enticing and nonetheless, intriguing by the end of his essay.
For starters, I thought that Nietzsche’s reference to Ancient Greece should be noted. By doing this, Nietzsche somewhat resembled Rousseau to me, to a certain degree that is. I find that philosophers tend to make certain referential statements to further emphasize their points, or validate them, and I found Nietzsche’s essay to e more interesting because of this. However, unlike Rousseau, I did find that Nietzsche wasn’t exactly as easy to understand as Rousseau. I would have to say that reading Rousseau was perhaps one of the most enjoyable philosophical reads for me to date. I found that Nietzsche rambled quite frequently, which made it challenging for me to follow all the way through.
In my opinion, I think that Nietzsche’s main argument in his essay, is that of good and evil. He states that humans create good and evil; with regards to this topic, I think that it is quite interesting how good and evil are two vices that were thought to have been present since the existence of humanity, rather than actually being a mere creation from our perception. Furthermore, I found that Nietzsche’s views on punishment to be very intriguing. In spite of his alternative ways of thinking and looking at particular subjects, his arguments were still pretty entertaining to me. From today’s lecture, I definitely found a new perspective on Nietzsche, since he basically said that he thinks that punishment is something that is fun…. Something that should be enjoyed! Though I do not believe this to be necessarily true, I will somewhat (I guess) respect his view on this.
Basically, after reading Nietzsche’s essay and attempting to analyze it in more depth, and upon attending the lecture, I am still left somewhat confused with his points. Cant wait till I hear other people’s opinions! See you guys tomorrow!!
Prior to reading Frankenstein, I’ve definitely heard of him, since I feel as though he is just one of those “cult classic” monsters that everyone more or less knows about. And that’s how it was like for me. I was somewhat familiar with Frankenstein, more so his physical appearance, but upon reading this book I got a deeper sense, a more well-rounded sense of a more human monster than the other novels we have read thus far in Arts One.
This book was a pretty fascinating read in my opinion. I found that Mary Shelley does an exceptional job of bringing Victor’s character to life. Through the use of her vivid and imaginative descriptions, she really paints a picture in your head. Additionally, prior to reading Frankenstein, I expected him to be this awful, immensely monstrous.. monster. I expected his appearance to match exactly who he was on the inside. However, having now read it, my expectations were flawed. Frankenstein is more misunderstood than anything. People think the book is going to be focused on this evil green dude with bolts in his neck murdering a bunch of people; but he is just a misunderstood creature. Rather than fear him, I sympathize for him. For his misjudgment, and attachment to such superficial claims. I particularly enjoyed this book, because this was one of the first times that we’ve seen a twist to our perception of monsters, well at least in my opinion. In Oedipus, we see a man who is a victim of circumstance, but his physical appearance doesn’t look like that of a monster. (Obviously opinions about Oedipus will vary, but that is mine). But in Frankenstein, we have an intimidating, scary-looking (an actually frightening) monster. Frankenstein’s outer appearance paints an inaccurate image of whom he truly is inside. This is so juvenile, but Frankenstein kind of reminds me of Monsters Inc.. where the monsters are misrepresented, and people fear them without really getting a deeper sense of their character and looking beyond just the outside. Which brings me to my other point, I found this book to be quite emotional to my surprise. The tale as a whole intrigued me, and it pulled me in. This book, I can confidently say, kept me enticed the whole read through; from cover to cover.
Overall, I thought Shelley made an excellent book. Reading this piece brought me into almost an alternate universe, for it widened my perspective on monsters.
Although I found Rousseau to be a bit confusing and not entirely a clear read (since I did have to re-read some lines more than once), it was a good read. However, I’m not going to say that I fully agreed of even understood all the points that he raised. To be quite honest here, Rousseau’s views somewhat mind boggled me from time to time. I found that upon reading certain parts of his argument, it was hard for me to fully and entirely comprehend what he was trying to convey/ persuade us to believe. Though with that being said, I do still think he raised some very valid and thought provoking points and questions.
As I previously stated above, Rousseau’s argument did indeed confuse me here and there, but in the very beginning, he proposes the question: “How can we know the source of inequality among men if we do not first have knowledge of men themselves?” By clearly outlining the question that he is trying to answer, I think that Rousseau’s thoughts were better laid out for me to understand. This simple question was particularly thought provoking for me and intrigued me greatly.
A Discourse on Inequality clearly demonstrates Rousseau’s belief that the growth of a society corrupts man entirely. He believes that as society continues to further develop and evolve, us as human beings only suffer from this change. That man’s natural happiness and freedom are severed by artificial inequality. Rousseau essentially conveys throughout his claim, that the introduction of private property, is what catalyzed the decline in society as a whole. Rousseau brings up quite a valid point in my opinion, when he asks, “How many crimes, wars, murders; how much misery horror the human race would have been spared if someone had pulled up the stakes and filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: ‘Beware of listening to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to everyone and that the earth itself belongs to no one!”
Imagine a place where everything was shared and selfishness, or amour propre did not exist. A place without pride, or immense self-indulgence. Rousseau clearly comprehends throughout a Discourse on Inequality, his belief that society has taken a turn for the worse. That nascent society was the peak of civilization before modernity and artificial matters took over the simplicity and innocence of the state of nature.
Thus, with that being said, I think that Rousseau raised some great questions. Do I think that they are entirely true? To a certain extent, yes. But in spite of my opinion regarding the way he views civilization and society, Rousseau’s persuasive way of conveying his thoughts made this read quite enjoyable; more enjoyable than I expected really.