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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Understanding A Fear Of Monsters

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message 1: by Melanie (last edited Oct 26, 2011 07:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melanie Shepherd In this book, when Dr. Jekyll transforms into Mr. Hyde, the personified aspects of Dr. Jekyll's dark, mysterious, evil side, his physical appearance dramatically alters. Unlike most supernatural monsters or evil creatures who are actually large, tall, muscular, and appear to be overbearing, Mr. Hyde is depicted as a smaller, shorter man, with slight but not extreme deformities, who seems less intimidating. In this way, Mr. Hyde goes against the grain of typical monsters. Why do you think Stevenson's description of Mr. Hyde is better suiting for his character? Why is it that the majority of scary, evil monsters or people have a bulky stature and build? If "the pen is mightier than the sword" why is it more acceptable for society to be fearful of an enormous monster?

Dhfan4life Those are some good questions Melanie. Are they for a class, lol? I think the depiction of Hyde was better suited for his character because of how the people of the times saw people like Hyde. Meaning that those from upper society with money, power, and the ability to snub their nose at others. Then what is their opposite? Or rather who would be their target bad guys in a time like that? The darker, dirtier, less healthy looking person that they know nothing about other than that person is not like them and would most likely be up to no good. So I think the author was keeping to classical opinions of the less fortunate and the narrow mindedness of those that had a better up bringing.

I think the newer monsters have a larger, bulkier stature and build because of the fact that as time progressed the haves and the have nots sort of leveled out. And people were no longer dubbing people and their misfortunes as evil. But sort of seeing them as a person too. And so when people started humanizing each other a bit more, I think they started realizing there are bigger things out there that can take us all down regardless of what your standing is in the world. Like with the Great Depression that didn't just happen to a few people that happened to quite a lot of people as a whole and was larger than life. So what is not to say that a bigger, larger scary monster wouldn't discriminate in the same way? I hope that makes sense.

I think it is more acceptable for society to be fearful of an enormous monster because as I said in my last paragraph. Huge monsters really don't discriminate when it comes down to killing their victims or terrorizing them. And also we as humans deal with tons of issues that are bigger and in most cases more insurmountable than we are. Whether it is ginormous debt, dealing with natural diasters, or even with family. So sometimes it is far easier to see all those issues as one big monster coming at you rather than one small problem. And yet again all of those small little problems don't discriminate but they don't stop coming at you either. Regardless if you have a pen or a sword. Cause the "monster" is always breathing on your neck so to speak.

message 3: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Mckinstry In the book Dr Jekel surmised that he had lived with, and nourished his good persona for longer, therefore the persona was more aged and of a greater build.

His darker persona had been subdued and was therefore younger in age, possessing more vibrancy but of less stature.

A passage early in the book described Mr Hyde as a juggernaut when he trampled over a little girl in the street, which immediately conjured movie images of an 8 foot tall gnarled and muscular monster. Reading on further I was surprised to see how different in appearance Mr Hyde actually was from my preconceptions.

Dhfan4life That is all true Tim. But my take on Hyde was that his side of things was a product of what the society looked down upon. Kind of like how the Irish were looked down upon when they first came over and other cultures there after. So in a way I think it would have been more visually possible for them to dub Hyde a monster since he was so different from them.

And yea, that juggernaut part got me too as I thought he was a bigger as well. But for the most part I was picturing the leperchaun character from those horror flicks that was always out killing people too. So although he may have still been rather short being somewhat larger than a small child he could have easily pushed her down and stepped on her and had no regard for her.

message 5: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Mckinstry Yes, some interesting thoughts.

Gregory Rothbard Dhfan4life wrote: "Those are some good questions Melanie. Are they for a class, lol? I think the depiction of Hyde was better suited for his character because of how the people of the times saw people like Hyde. Mean..."
Great discussion here, I am thankful for the insight.

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