Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Note on Source of PowerPoint Much of the information, and some direct quotes, are taken from Jenny Davidson’s introduction to the Barnes and Noble Classics version of J&H. (I am trying to avoid blatant plagiarism!) A Crowd Pleaser After its publication in 1886, it quickly became a best seller. Theatrical Production Richard Mansfield acted and produced in J&H. “People went away from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde afraid to enter their houses alone. They feared to sleep in darkened rooms. They were awakened by nightmare.” “The names of Jekyll and Hyde have entered the language, familiar even to those who have never read Stevenson’s story.” Chat with your group… Why are we so fascinated with the story of Jekyll and Hyde? (Talk amongst yourselves. Quit looking at me!) Jack the Ripper In 1888, Jack the Ripper “cut his victims’ throats, sliced open their torsos, and removed their organs; he was suspected of having trained as a butcher or a medical man.” Connections to Jekyll & Hyde Stevenson’s story seemed “to invent the figure of the modern serial killer, a male predator who lived a respectable life by day but whose respectability not only enable, but actively produced, his violent excesses of the night.” Stevenson rejects family values Stevenson’s family were Presbyterians, a version of Calvinism These beliefs emphasized natural depravity of man and the idea of predestination (stark distinctions between sinners and those destined for salvation.) HYPOCRISY! Stevenson condemned the hypocrisy and cruelty he saw as being at the center of Scottish bourgeois society. Chat Break What factors led to the creation of Hyde? In other words, what is Stevenson critiquing? Story Frame Narrated in 3rd person from the point of view of Mr. Utterson, a lawyer whose clients include Mr. Jekyll and Sir Danvers Carew. Mr. Utterson “is a neutral or repressed character who seems to exist in symbiosis with the disreputable individuals who visit his practice.” So what do you think… Why does Stevenson call the character “Mr. Utterson” (Utter = to speak) Why does he choose this character to narrate the first part of the story? So here’s what happens… Mr. Utterson is walking with his cousin, Mr. Enfield, who shows him a curious stained and blistered door that is connected with Mr. Hyde. Mr. Enfield tells Mr. Utterson… A terrible story about a man trampling a child. When Mr. Enfield and others demand that Mr. Hyde pay damages, he pays with a check from Mr. Jekyll’s account. Descriptions of Mr. Hyde “Mr. Hyde was pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation, he had displeasing smile…” “God Bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic, shall we say?...if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.” My next question to discuss… What is the significance of the name Mr. Hyde? What is significant about how the character is described? A terrible murder… Sir Danvers Carew is beaten to death by Mr. Hyde. A maid who happens to be looking out the window recognizes Mr. Hyde because he visited her master’s home. The good times return For two months after this brutal crime, Mr. Jekyll returns to his old self. Soon however he becomes reclusive and refuses to see his old friends. Mr. Utterson becomes worried… And goes to visit their mutual friend, Dr. Lanyon. For some He now says “I beg that time Lanyon has been you will spare me any disapproving of allusion to one whom Jekyll’s scientific I regard as dead.” pursuits. Lanyon soon dies Leaving behind a letter to Mr. Utterson with a sealed enclosure marked “not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll.” Mr. Utterson’s narrative concludes With a frantic visit from Mr. Poole, Dr. Jekyll’s butler. All the servants are terrified because they have not seen their master for a week. Someone else has been calling out for a mystery drug. The first narrative concludes: Poole and Utterson break in to find the body of Hyde, dressed in too large clothes. They find a will with Mr. Utterson as beneficiary, and also a packet of papers. Lanyon’s Narrative (mailed as a letter to Utterson, to be opened only in the event of Dr. Jekyll’s death) We learn that he received a letter from Jekyll with a curious request: to break into the cabinet in Jekyll’s lab and give the drugs to a man who will visit Lanyon in his home. Lanyon’s fatal curiosity Lanyon gives in to the temptation to see what happens when Hyde takes the drugs and the shock of the transformation leads to Lanyon’s death. (image from 1971 movie) Jekyll’s final narrative It is only upon reading the final narrative in which Jekyll explains his motivations for trying to split off the evil in him and the dire consequences that ensure from this unnatural experiment that the whole story becomes clear. And finally… • What was your overall opinion of the book? • How did you respond to the structure of the book with the three narratives? • Did you find the book difficult to understand? Why or why not? Thanks for listening!