Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the misanthropic Edward Hyde. The work is known for its vivid portrayal of a split personality, split in the sense that within the same person there is both an apparently good and an evil personality each being quite distinct from each other; in mainstream culture the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" has come to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next. This is different from multiple personality disorder where the different personalities do not necessarily differ in any moral sense. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immediate success and one of Stevenson's best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in Boston and London within a year of its publication and it has gone on to inspire scores of major film and stage performances. (From feedbooks.com)
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Chapter 1 - Story of the Door
Repression and the importance of reputation are two important themes in this book. In order to keep up proper appearances in the Victorian England setting, characters (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Utterson especially) have to repress their inner desires. Repression is the root of the troubles in the story. People were expected to show no great expressions of emotion, no sexual appetite, no violence; everything is sober and dignified. It is easy to imagine how easy it would be to get fed up with the constant pressure of always appearing perfect.
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These two paragraphs describe two different areas of London. The first paragraph uses pleasant, positive diction, while the second uses ominous, negative connotative words. This shift in diction creates which of the following comparisons?
This scene helps to blur the lines between good and evil. Even the good guys are guilty of blackmailing. Stevenson will continue to point out that there is a little bit of evil in all of us, which is one of the themes of the book.
This alludes to an imaginary street where people in difficulties are supposed to reside.
Which of the following is a reason that Enfield finds it difficult to describe Hyde's appearance?
Chapter 2 - Search for Mr. Hyde
Mr. Utterson, Dr. Jekyll's lawyer who drafted Jekyll's will, is bothered by the knowledge that Jekyll leaves everything he owns to Mr. Hyde if Jekyll dies or "disappears" for longer than three months. The will states that Hyde will not only receive all of Jekyll's estate, but that Hyde will step into Jekyll's shoes and live his life. Sounds sketchy, doesn't it? (This annotation contains an image)
According to Greek mythology, Damon and Pythias were close friends. Pythias, condemned to death, obtains leave to put his affairs in order on the condition that Damon be executed in his place should he not return. A delay ensues, resulting in Damon's being led to execution, but Pythias arrives in time to save him. Impressed by their strength of friendship, both of their lives are spared by the King. (This annotation contains an image)
On which matter did Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Lanyon have a serious disagreement?
Which of the following titles best summarizes this section of the text?
This paragraph describes Hyde, who almost seems like a different species to the other men. His pale complexion, dwarfish nature, and broken voice are all symbolic. His features are underdeveloped because he has been repressed for so long. Dr. Jekyll repressed his sinful, evil side for his entire life. Until now.
The butler's reply helps to establish which pair of symbols?
Chapter 3 - Dr. Jekyll Was Quite at Ease
Which literary device is employed in this passage?
Chapter 4 - The Carew Murder Case
In this opening paragraph to Chapter 4, the elements of the setting help to create an ominous and sinister atmosphere.
This passage hints that Utterson is somehow psychologically implicated in Hyde's crimes. Does Hyde come into existence not only because of Jekyll's repression, but because of Utterson's too? Or perhaps all of humankind's?
In this paragraph, select several elements of the setting and explain what effect(s) they have on the reader and/or how they help to create thematic meaning.
Chapter 5 - Incident of the Letter
What is Jekyll's tone in this excerpt?
How does Blake portray the city of London in his poem, and how is it similar to or different from Stevenson's depiction?
Use this link to read William Blake's poem "London" then answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
Chapter 6 - Remarkable Incident of Dr. Lanyon
What changes have occurred with Dr. Lanyon's character?
Here you see the act of repression, one of the main themes of the book, in Mr. Utterson's character. Stopping himself from opening the letter even though he is dying to is comparable to his (and Jekyll's and all of Victorian England's) repression of innermost desires. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 7 - Incident at the Window
You can safely assume that the two men just witnessed Jekyll starting to transform into Hyde.
Explain the symbolism inherent in the middle window of three being open, and then slamming shut (hint: think Biblical and what else happened in the middle one of three things). If you can, extend your thoughts by tying in Utterson's line "God forgive us, God forgive us."
Chapter 8 - The Last Night
Silence is a motif in this book. Watch this video about motifs then answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
Which theme does the motif of silence help to establish?
What is Jekyll in dire need of?
Poole's assumption is that Hyde has murdered Jekyll. His description of the man in the lab as "a dwarf" and "that thing in the mask" lets you know that he is referring to Hyde.
How do the details of the setting contribute to the events taking place? Include specific examples of the setting from the text in your answer.
"A self-destroyer" means that Jekyll committed suicide as he was transforming into Hyde. Utterson does not realize that he is looking at the body of both Hyde AND Jekyll. All he sees is Hyde.
One of the film versions of the book takes this line from the text and uses it repeatedly and powerfully. What is being implied here? Why might the film focus on this line particularly?
Jekyll has changed his will. Instead of leaving everything to Hyde, he now leaves it all to Utterson. Perhaps Jekyll predicted that he might have to take extreme measures.
Chapter 9 - Dr. Lanyon's Narrative
This chapter is titled "Dr. Lanyon's Narrative," so the "I" is referring to Dr. Lanyon. This chapter is told in his point of view.
This book is most likely a log of which of the following?
Dr. Lanyon believes that Jekyll is insane. Use this link to read Emily Dickinson's poem "I Felt a Funeral in My Brain," which tracks the speaker's descent into madness, then answer the next question. (This annotation contains a link)
How does Emily Dickinson's poem portray insanity and how can you relate it to the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
This excerpt is an allusion to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when Satan came disguised as a serpent to tempt Eve to eat the fruit of the Forbidden Tree to gain carnal knowledge. (This annotation contains an image)
In his letter, Dr. Lanyon finally reveals what secret to Utterson?
Chapter 10 - Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of the Case
Which of the following themes is most prevalent at this point in the text?
This last chapter is told from Dr. Jekyll's point of view and explains everything from how Hyde came to be to how it all ends.
In this excerpt, Jekyll explains his theory of why Hyde's stature is smaller. He thinks it is because the Hyde side of him had been repressed for so long.
Initially, why does Jekyll turn himself into Hyde?
When does Jekyll's first involuntary transformation into Hyde occur?
This is a Biblical allusion to the ominous appearance at Belshazzar's feast of the fingers of a human hand that "appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace." "The writing on the wall" is an idiom implying that a (usually) negative event is easily predictable based on the current situation. Often, the event is seen as hard to avert. A direness similar to an "impending doom" can be implied. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Jekyll become grateful for?
Jekyll feels terrible remorse for murdering Carew as Hyde. He begs God for forgiveness and makes the decision that he can never transform into Hyde again.
Which sin allows Hyde to come roaring out as Jekyll sits in the sun on a park bench?
In your opinion, does the Arthur cartoon accurately portray the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Explain your answer using specific examples from the book.
Watch this video clip of the cartoon Arthur, then answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)