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.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Apart?

  1. I think the ironic thing is that even though this is a book about good and evil, Stevenson really seems to be warning against good and evil, even saying it doesn’t really exist. Because, as you said, there is some Jekyll in Hyde and Hyde in Jekyll, you can’t really have a “good and evil”. Stevenson is kind of warning against that type of thought, I think.

    PS you should check it Vincent’s blog, he has a really cool bit at the end about how our perception of duality has changed over time.

    Cheers!

  2. Yes! It was definitely interesting watching Jekyll piggyback on feel a rush in Hyde’s doing. Though he still doesn’t associate himself with being the one to committing the acts, he does admit to feeling the rush as well. Which I though was a big step for him, recognizing this, that Frankenstein never had. Though I suppose if you are seeing through the same pair of eyes it is easier. So I’d give Frankenstein that.

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