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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
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CLASSICS READS > The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - *SPOILERS*

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Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1109 comments This is the post-read or during-read discussion. Spoilers are allowed, but please use spoiler tags as needed.

What did you think of the read? Would you read again or recommend? What surprised you the most or was it what you expected?


message 2: by Taz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Taz | 75 comments Hyde has a lot in common with the Frankenstein monster in that the monster depicted by popular media is not the same one depicted in the book. On television: it seems Hyde is either depicted as a person of extreme intellect (and no emotional intelligence) capable of rationalizing the most horrendous acts or as an overgrown brute of a person. In the book: he is a dwarf and we're given few clues to his intelligence.

Personally, I found this a very quick read. It holds a lot of depth for such a short novel.


Renee (elenarenee) I think the horror of Hyde was the fact that he was what one became when all inhibitions were gone.

He is that little part of you that wants to tell someone what you really think, He is the tiny little ugly you hide within yourself. The piece of you that wants to answer honestly when someone asks how they look.

I think it id much harder to convey that in a visual medium. It is easier to see the ugly in a pretty package. So movie Hyde show the characteristics we value, It makes it easier to see the ugly.


Laura (lfergu11) | 86 comments I actually reread this book just recently. I agree with Renee in that it's hard to convey Hyde's essence in a visual form. I think that he would be very different for different people.

For me I think this book is about more than just good vs. evil. I find that it's delves deeper into themes of private self vs. public self. I feel that Dr. Jekyll's character was just trying to free himself from societal expectation through his transformations into Hyde, but finds that by completely ignoring inhibition and societal expectations, we allow ourselves to become the worst versions of our self.


Renee (elenarenee) Laura , you read mind. You said exactly what I think about the public self and the private self


Trisha | 430 comments I enjoyed this book more than I expected. Did anyone else think the last section with change of narrator seemed almost unnecessary? For me, the book ended then started up again, as though the author suddenly decided he ought to add something to make the story longer.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments I've often wondered why old novels use frames or embedded stories. In this case, Shmoop says:

"Third Person (Limited); The Story Follows Mr. Utterson

The third person limited point of view picks one character and follows him around—in this case, Mr. Utterson. However, Mr. Utterson’s point of view is supplemented by four other narratives: Mr. Enfield’s story of the door, the maid’s account of the Carew murder, Dr. Lanyon’s story, and Dr. Jekyll’s confession.

We get the story this way because it draws out the suspense, the mystery, and the shocking nature that was sort of requisite for shilling shockers back in the day. If we just had the story from Jekyll’s point of view, there wouldn’t have been such a dramatic ending, where we, the readers, get to say: "Ohhh."

"Even though we hear other people’s perspectives, we basically follow Mr. Utterson: we don’t learn the full story until he does. But since he’s a bit of a dry fellow—he must be, to spend so much time doing nothing but studying—he’s not a terribly involved narrator. We watch him speculate about Dr. Jekyll and try to unravel the mystery, but he’s not overcome by strong emotions all the time. He’s an average fellow who cares about his friend’s well-being and isn’t going to project many of his own opinions onto the story he unravels... which makes him a good narrator."

https://www.shmoop.com/jekyll-and-hyd...


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments I still can't help wishing that we could just get the meat of the story, though, and skip the frame!


message 9: by Cheryl is busier irl atm. (last edited Dec 20, 2018 05:21AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments Ok, now I'm done. And all I can think is 'thank goodness.' I did not feel the horror at all, (no, not even psychological or Hitchcockian horror) and found the style of writing difficult. I did not have the "Ohhh" at the end. Mind you, I'm only thinking about the concepts as I've never seen a film, but it seems to me that the themes are so much a part of our culture that the story by Stevenson is not necessary.

What I would like to see is an adaptation by somebody truly brilliant. Maybe someone like that Japanese fellow who did 'Princess Mononoke,' Hayao Miyazaki.

I did like the line, "My devil had long been caged, he came out roaring."


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments I am thinking about historical context, though. A few years after this, Oscar Wilde published The Picture of Dorian Gray. And a few years after that, Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams, about our hidden thoughts, and also remember he popularized the idea of Id & Ego. I wonder if RLS influenced the others, or if there was something, some sort of meme, going around.

Darwin's works had been around for awhile, but I suppose we could give some credit to Descent of Man, 1871, and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, 1872, if we consider that Dorian's portrait, Mr. Hyde, and our Ids are all expressions of a bestial nature. (Notwithstanding that would be a misinterpretation of Darwin's thesis.)

I dunno. I don't know enough history to know what would likely have influenced RLS. Do any of you?


message 11: by Trisha (last edited Dec 16, 2018 03:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trisha | 430 comments Cheryl wrote: "I still can't help wishing that we could just get the meat of the story, though, and skip the frame!"

You have made some interesting comments & obviously know much more about the background than I did. Like you, I was glad when the book ended. I didn’t mind the style of writing, but agree that I didn’t feel the horror.

Recently I have also read 2 fairly short stories by H P Lovecraft, both of which I found weird but didn’t get the horror, just found them incredibly boring. Perhaps some old books were exciting at the time when they had little competition but modern readers expect more.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments (I just did some superficial research, that's all.)


message 13: by Jess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jess Wellman (jmwellman) Trisha wrote: "I enjoyed this book more than I expected. Did anyone else think the last section with change of narrator seemed almost unnecessary? For me, the book ended then started up again, as though the autho..."

I felt very similarly. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but didn't really think the change in narrator at the end was necessary. It honestly kind of killed the story for me.

I thought the way the ideas were explored was really interesting. I agree with Laura about the private self vs. public self being explored, as well as good vs. evil. It seemed to me that Dr. Jekyll simply didn't have anywhere to truly express himself, and that was where Mr. Hyde came to play, exhibiting the characteristics that Jekyll was afraid of because of societal norms.

Overall, I thought it was interesting. I was mostly glad to finally find a classic I enjoyed, although I thought the ending was kind of silly. (I haven't had much luck recently in the classic realm, so this was great exploration for me!)


Renee (elenarenee) I think the horror was more horrific in the day. The book was written in a time where society did not allow people to break with the norms.


The horror is more a product of the time it was written. People were terrified of breaking with societal norms.


Today I wear pearls in the daytime and don't change for dinner.


Each age has their own horror. Did you know their is now a phobia of you phone loosing power?


Cheryl wrote: "Ok, now I'm done. And all I can think is 'thank goodness.' I did not feel the horror at all, and found the style of writing difficult. I did not have the "Ohhh" at the end. Mind you, I'm only think..."


message 16: by Kat (new)

Kat Khell | 12 comments I am very glad that i read this!

I was also lucky in the edition i had which contained an editorial note that said something along the lines of try and put yourself in a Victorian mindset when reading. And that is how I approach this book. Trying to push out of mind all the various adaptations and modern allusions.

The thing i found most interesting was that Hyde was short, ugly and caused primal feelings of revulsion in all those who encountered him. In many of the modern sci-fi remakes Hyde is a large lumbering strong man, more attune with brute force than with evil.

Also Dr Jekyll seems to be fully conscious of what happens when he is Hyde, he just doesn’t care as his reputation will not suffer when the other is doing “evil”. This i think was a much more horrible thought to the Victorian mindset, that a respectable individual could simply sit back and perform such acts (none of which are explicitly defined so as to allow the reader to imagine what depravity they may) and then return to his life of “good”.

When such points are looked through the lens of Darwinism, the start of psychoanalysis, the rise of the middle class and importance of social standing the story (to me) take on something much more akin to a psychological thriller of a Hitchcock nature than a horror movie with blood and chainsaws.


message 17: by Taz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Taz | 75 comments Kat wrote: "I am very glad that i read this!

I was also lucky in the edition i had which contained an editorial note that said something along the lines of try and put yourself in a Victorian mindset when re..."


Kat, I agree. Reading this book reminded me of Hitchcockian thrillers. It is all about the suspense. If you are expecting a true horror story/film, I think it is easy to miss the genius.

You also bring up an interesting point about Hyde's portrayal on screen. He tends to be stylized as a brute or a sociopath--our modern day horrors of human behavior.


Charles Vivian | 2 comments I completely get why some people didn’t really like the change of narrator at the end of the novel, but for me, that’s what made it so brilliant!

I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as a reflection on the dual nature of the human psyche (i.e. Hyde as a reflection of the insecurities/repressed thoughts that are universally within us all), and so, form a linguistic point of view, I really liked how we got to see how Jekyll responded to Hyde; he both identified with Hyde but also tried to distance himself from him in the language that he used. I thought that the contradictory nature of his confession was a really interesting reflection on how one struggles with their own insecurities/repressed thoughts.


message 20: by Thomas (last edited Dec 24, 2018 09:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Thomas Hsiao SPOILERS:

The progression of how Jekyll went from being able to turn into Hyde through the potion at will, to no longer having control over the transformations is brilliant. It really drives home the point that as humans, it's foolish to think that we can separate the selfish and indulgent part of our personality from the part that is socially acceptable. One shows true character by doing the right thing in the face of their own selfish urges, but Jekyll clearly had no interest in doing that. He did not think it was fair for the good part of his personality to have to share the same identity as the evil part. He believed he could remove evil part of himself all together, rather than actually practice self-restraint and conform to societal norms. I found it humorous that Jekyll ended up giving in and indulging Hyde, the actual indulgent side of his personality. After all, it did not start off as an uncontrollable transformation into Hyde. Jekyll had full control over the first transformation, and chose to do so.

It was also revealing to see that the only times Jekyll truly felt fear (face turned white, illness) was when people started associating Hyde's actions with him (the check, the cane, the letter), rather than hearing about any of the gruesome crimes Hyde had committed. Definitely supports Kat's point that Jekyll was much less concerned about the morality of Hyde's actions than the potential impact on his reputation if he were to be exposed.


message 21: by Thomas (last edited Dec 24, 2018 09:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Thomas Hsiao Trisha wrote: "I enjoyed this book more than I expected. Did anyone else think the last section with change of narrator seemed almost unnecessary? For me, the book ended then started up again, as though the autho..."

I think the last chapter added a lot to the story. Utterson wasn't exactly a narrator that gave us a lot of insight - he just had knowledge of many events and it was up to us to put things together. There's so many good quotes in the last chapter that really put into perspective what Jekyll was going through! This quote in particular

"I was the first that could plod in the public eye with a load of genial respectability, and in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty."

neatly summarizes Jekyll's internal struggle, elation, and hubris. While it may have been obvious that Jekyll couldn't restrain Hyde and felt better when he just let him loose just from Utterson's viewpoint, I think the delusion he had of completely disassociating from his evil self was not clear until the last chapter, and revealed a lot about his true moral character.


Thomas Hsiao Why do people think Jekyll/Hyde committed suicide? Jekyll makes it seem like it's the only valid threat against Hyde...but since they're really one and the same, what exactly does it mean?


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 985 comments Wait, are some of you reading an edition in which Utterson was the last narrator? I see Lanyon's Narrative, and then Jekyll's Full Statement, and there it ends....


message 24: by Neva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neva (nevanescence) | 2 comments I really liked how this story was from a different perspective than just Dr. Jekyll. It gave a unique viewpoint because people around him were trying to figure out what the heck was going on. The statement at the end is like a post-climactic reveal, since I think Hyde/Jekyll's death is the climax of the story.
A little thing that I feel was not explained is why Mr. Hyde was named Hyde? Until the final chapter it seems like Jekyll is being possessed by Hyde, but after the chapter it seems like Hyde is just another part of Jekyll's personality that he has repressed. The connection between the two personalities is perhaps more intermingled than I initially thought.


Charles Vivian | 2 comments ^I like to think that his name, Mr Hyde, is a pun on the verb ‘to hide’ as he represents the parts of Dr Jekyll that Dr Jekyll represses/tries to hide. There’s that lovely quote from Mr Utterson: “If he be Mr Hyde," he had thought, "I shall be Mr Seek."


message 26: by Taz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Taz | 75 comments Thomas wrote: "Why do people think Jekyll/Hyde committed suicide? Jekyll makes it seem like it's the only valid threat against Hyde...but since they're really one and the same, what exactly does it mean?"

My edition is the same though I've noticed some are longer. Are we missing something?


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