Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - A wonderfully mysterious story told on two very different levels. Enjoy the story and mysteries of man's duplicity.


A page turning dark story which evokes real mystery and suspense.

It's only a short book too so is a great book club choice between two longer books.

Learn about the two sides of man and enjoy discussing whether everyone has two sides of them.


Plot


Most of the  story is told from the perspective of Dr Jekyll's lawyer, which immediately gives the story some credibility.

Dr Jekyll believes he has two personalities inside his body and finds it difficult to control as to when Mr Hyde (the evil side of his character) will show up. Mr Hyde is indeed evil which manifests itself in girls being murdered and men being beaten to death.

The story is how Dr Jekyll tries to cover his tracks and how he first enjoys becoming Mr Hyde (he devises a potion to help the transformation) but then wants to fight the urge to turn into Mr Hyde. He has a potion to help him return to Mr Hyde but soon runs out of the necessary ingredients.

Will people discover the truth about him?

His last letter at the end of the book suggests that he can no longer continue to live this double life.

Themes

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


Good V's Evil

Robert Louis Stevenson shows two sides of Mr Jekyl and  by the end of the book, concludes that his evil side has a stronger pull. His deeds can be described as pure evil - murder




Split Personalities

This is an actual condition that some people do suffer and the book goes a long way to show how terrible this condition really must be. Is it possible that everyone has two sides to them? The author seems to think so.

Contrasts

The author uses contrasts throughout the book, obviously between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but more subtly in his descriptive writing. The best contrasts are those between the dark, the wind, the rain, sometimes fog, & the silences of the London streets late at night  with domestic & normal settings.

Jekyll's warm, well lit home is "The pleasantest room in London." (P41) And, P 53 Utterson & his Clerk drink a good bottle of wine by the fire.


Book Club Questions

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

  • Does everyone have a good and bad side to them or is it just those with split personalities?

  • Discuss the contrasts that are present in this novel beyond Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde

  • How does Stevenson create the suspense in this book? What language and descriptions does he use? Any examples?

  • Is the story believable? Why or why not?

  • How do the minor characters in this book contribute to the story? Why has Stevenson created them?

  • This book is about the duplicity of mans nature (2 sides). Discuss the irony of Victorian men frequenting whore houses like Mr Hyde does,  yet insisting on their wives being pure and domestic goddesses.
  • In a day and age where we see grotesque violence on TV every day, does this book still portray real evil?

  • When this story was published, the new scientific age was underway; there were so many  wonderful new inventions during Victoria's  reign. People would be more suspicious of experimentation in labs & of "new fangled things," than we are today. Do you agree with this statement or are we just as suspicious today? (e.g. genetic engineering)

Like?



Our book club gave this a 7/10. A great short story that was both gripping and deep.


The discussion was interesting too as we tried to analyse beyond the actual story and discuss its many themes.

Mr. Hyde epitomises evil both through his actions & the way he looks. The Victorian reader, without T.V. & modern cinema, would be genuinely shocked at the portrayal of Hyde, a truly grotesque character.

Many Victorians would listen to this story, perhaps in the kitchen, round the fire, in the servants quarters or perhaps in the parlour with members of the family, just as they listened to stories in weekly magazines by writers such as Hardy & Dickens.

There would have been a lot of gasping & looks of horror as the realisation of what Jekyll was doing to himself dawned.

Interestingly, it's a testimony to Stevenson's storytelling that his story is just as pertinent & timeless today as it was then even though the modern reader has seen much worse things on T.V.

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