Monday, February 12, 2007

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson revised A Child's Garden of Verses and wrote Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a time span of under two years--if only all of us could be so productive! This is a very short book and can easily be read in a few hours, so I encourage you to read it if you have not. I was very surprised I waited this long myself.

It tells the story of how Dr. Jekyll conducted an experiment to separate the evil and the good in his personality. Mr. Hyde was the result of his evil side coming out. Dr. Jekyll's appearance was so altered that he was unrecognizable--both in appearance and actions. What was very interesting to me was that the experiment was done not just for "scientific research", but because Dr. Jekyll admitted to actually enjoying his more sinful side. He wanted to separate the two personalities, in other words, so he could participate in the evil activities while still considering his "real self" to be essentially good. Of course he eventually loses control of the experiment with disastrous results. This simple tale teaches us the true nature of good and evil and our propensity to desire sin. It should be read by all!

Favorite passages:

First, because I have been made to learn that the doom and burthen of our life is bound for ever on man's shoulders; and when the attempt is made to cast it off, it but returns upon us with more unfamiliar and more awful pressure.

I could have screamed aloud; I sought with tears and prayers to smother down the crowd of hideous images and sounds with which my memory swarmed against me; and still, between the petitions, the ugly face of my iniquity stared into my soul.

I was once more tempted to trifle with my conscience; and it was as an ordinary secret sinner, that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation. There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is filled at last; and this brief condescension to evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul.

I became, in my own person, a creature eaten up and emptied by fever, languidly weak both in body and mind, and solely occupied by one thought: the horror of my other self.

1886, 54 pp.

Rating: 5/5


Mindy said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Happy reading!

booklogged said...

Nice review, 3M. I'm going to consider this one for next year's challenge.

Carrie said...

I recently read this as well and though it was great! I had avoided it for a long time because I thought it would be dark and morbid. Not so! It was fascinating.

Sherry said...

I seem to remember reading that Stevenson was an atheist. How does a person confront the "doom and burthen of our life" and live with any kind of hope without God?