Review

10. THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE AND OTHER STORIES By R. L. Stevenson*

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

Vintage books from the 19th century have a special allure to them. I find them linguistically fascinating. Even though it takes me a while to get through one page, there’s still a part of me that wishes people still talked like that.

I read this book years ago when I used to read in Arabic. It was a brief translation which somehow left me under the impression that it was about dissociative identity disorder. That probably had to do with every film adaptation of the novel, and every usage of the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” in popular culture implying the same thing.

“And yet when I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass, I was conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. This, too, was myself.” —p.64

What is dealt with here is the normal incongruity of a single man, rather than two separate identities. Dr. Jekyll’s lust for Evil, his desire to break free from the steadfast life forced upon him by the uptight Victorian society and inherent shame have led him to create Hyde. Originally he’d meant to separate his Evil side from within him in order to live as the honourable man, as was expected of him, but his plan didn’t work quite well.

He began to enjoy living as the ape-like, appalling man with all the freedom it came with, delving in every sin imaginable and imbibing the pleasure of which he was made to deprive himself as Jekyll. Jekyll and Hyde, therefore, aren’t two different beings, and the question that is being asked here is how far will a person go, what kind of crimes would they commit, if impunity were to be guaranteed.

The theme could apply to many concepts, however I found striking similarities to substance abuse e.g. change in personality, compulsion, longing, adaptation, etc. This might be only a fancy of mine as I’ve found no evidence of this being the author’s intention so don’t hold it against me.

Duality is a topic that’s overdone in many genres, and Stevenson set the framework. This is a book that should be read by everyone.

4/5

OTHER STORIES

The Body Snatcher

Creepy story of medical students robbing graves for science. Gave me the chills as I remember the days when I used to be surrounded by cadavers. It’s an entertaining horror novella, perfect for a night time read. The ending was a let down —unimpressive attempt at a plot twist.

3/5

A Lodging for the Night

Markheim

Thrawn Janet

The Misadventures of John Nicholson

*Mainly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Other stories will be updated as I go along, if at all.

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