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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

"Jekyll, Jekyll, Hyde, Jekyll, Hyde, Hyde, Jekyll...."  was playing in my head when I picked up my copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I was excited to finally be reading my first pick for the RIP challenge and to actually find out what all the fuss was about with this popular short story about man's own internal struggles with good and evil.  Boy was I in for quite a treat.

From back of book:

The story centers on Dr. Henry Jekyll, an eminent if somewhat eccentric physician, and the strange goings-on in his elegantly appointed home and the decrepit surgical dissecting room that lies across his courtyard.  One night, Jekyll's old friend, Gabriel John Utterson, sees a ghastly, violent incident involving a young girl.  He discovers the perpetrator to be one Edward Hyde - a shriveled, misshapen ogre, who seems, incredibly, to be an intimate of the respectable Dr. Jekyll.  Disturbed but fatefully curious, Utterson delves into the doings of the dangerous Mr. Hyde, whose very appearance sends a chill through his soul.  Utterson persists, only to make an onrushing series of harrowing discoveries that will change his understanding of the world forever. 

My thoughts:

Wow! Talk about an interesting read. From the beginning I was consumed with finding out who and what this repulsive man named Hyde was exactly - how could a man provoke such hostile and scary reactions from people with merely a glance.  Well, the answer is quite simple - pure evil can send out such horrific vibes that just being near evil, a person can become petrified in their boots.  And that is exactly what Hyde was: pure evil.  What we have is the story of one man's quest to figure out human nature through a tonic which completely transforms him into a different persona - all of his inherently bad/evil/wicked traits are transferred into a different self that can indulge in any type of wrong-doing he desires.  Of course, an idea like this comes riddled with problems and soon enough, Dr. Jekyll has bitten off way more than he can chew.  I don't want to really give away the types of problems that come up or the ways in which, Jekyll's friend, Utterson attempts to try and put a stop to these events or even just figure out what exactly has been going on with his suddenly hermit-like pal, Jekyll. All I can say, is please go and read this novella, because it is truly worth it! Stevenson has written a great short story that is ominous in tone and rather vivid in its description of the split personality of Jekyll/Hyde.  Overall, the perfect spooky read for RIP V. 

And now I'm off to finish The Hunger Games (for some reason I can't seem to get into it) or start Dracula (this ones seems fitting for both the RIP V Challenge and October).   Happy Reading!!

17 comments:

Bellezza said...

This line struck me especially: "Well, the answer is quite simple - pure evil can send out such horrific vibes that just being near evil, a person can become petrified in their boots." It's so true! I can't read to this myself, it's also on my list for the RIPV. Thanks for stoking the fire!

Nadia said...

Bellezza, YAY! I am really looking forward to reading your thoughts on this one. Its such an interesting piece of work. And now that we are moving into October, how fitting will it be?

Steph said...

This one is a lot of fun! I read it for a course at university and we had some great discussions about the duality of man. Definitely a great one to start off your RIP reading!

Ti said...

What you said about pure evil is true! I know a few people like that. They are toxic, evil and nasty and whenever I come in contact with them I quake in my boots.. well not boots since it's so freaking hot here but you know what I mean.

Nadia said...

Steph, it is a lot of fun to read! I found myself gasping aloud in fright at some points and feeling shocked in disbelief at other times. Such a great read! And I can totally see how it would make for a great discussion in your class - there is so much to talk about when it comes to the duality of man. Definitely a great RIP read!

Ti, it is isn't? Pure evil = scary!! Its crazy how effective our intuition is when it comes to feeling the vibes of something wicked being nearby - definitely a good thing! And blimey, I can't believe how hot it still is over in Cali. CRAZY! My cousins in TX are chilling out in 55 degree weather and I'm hot and sticky in the 80s, while you are turning red in 100 degree weather - what the frack is going on?

Aths said...

I loved this one so much when I read it in school! It's time to revisit it. Plus, I loved Dracula as well, so I'm looking forward to your thoughts!

Nadia said...

Aths, definitely worth a revisit! And I'm glad you loved Dracula, because I'll be starting that one soon. Thanks!

bermudaonion said...

I've never read this book, but I've seen plenty of adaptations - I'm sure the book is different and well worth reading.

Nadia said...

bermudaonion, this book is definitely worth reading. I hope you give it a chance one day, I think you'll enjoy it. Cheers!

Kailana said...

I have always meant to read this, but haven't got around to it yet. I really must do so!

Nadia said...

Kailana, do it! Its such a fun read.

Kathleen said...

'Ominous' is exactly how I remember this story - you've made me want to read it again! Looking forward to your thoughts on Dracula. Those Victorians were just great at gothic, weren't they?

Vanessa said...

Ohh, thank you for this - I am definitely going yo give it a try! It sounds brilliant!

Frances said...

I have not read this in years but now really want to re-read. Had forgotten what a great story this is!

Nadia said...

Kathleen, thanks! And you so are right about the Victorians being great at gothic - they seemed to truly capture the feel of it. I'm excited about Dracula!

Vanessa, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Frances, it is such a great story! Enjoy your re-read of it!

Lisa said...

I have never read this but yours and another review have convinced me to find a copy this month!

Anonymous said...

I'm only in the 8th grade and I had to read this book...maybe it's just because it was confusing but I really didn't like it. I just found it sort of...pointless, I guess. No offense! Just my opinion