“Back of Book” Summary:
The gripping novel of a London lawyer who investigates strange occurrences surrounding his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the misanthropic Mr. 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 the other…
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a horror classic. Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella published in 1886 was an instant success. We’re all familiar with the popular tale of Dr. Hyde’s potion turning him into the gruesome Mr. Hyde, but few make the connection between the story and its social commentary. The story is an allegory of man’s struggle of good vs. evil. Although Jekyll and Hyde had two separate personalities, they were in fact the same man. Since man is not completely sinless, pretending to be otherwise could be disastrous. If we ignore the evil aspects of our own personality, it may just build up to the point that it begins to manifest and show itself to people while leaving us completely unaware. Stevenson’s story takes this idea to the extreme, but nevertheless we need to accept the duality of our personalities. In a world of temptation we should use our gift of reason to eradicate unnecessary evil actions, but at the same time we need to take responsibility that evil does exist and we are at times unable to stop it.
This book is an extremely short read, I got through it in an afternoon. The story is interesting, but I will say that most of the adaptations of it that I’ve seen are far more entertaining and have more action than this book did. The book is less about Mr. Hyde’s actions and more about a lawyer investigating his origins.
Generally, when I write a book review I only look at other people’s reviews after I write my initial thoughts down. Other reviews don’t alter my own review at all, but I enjoy reading what others think of the same books. It is interesting that every single book has people who love it and those who hate it. Books, such as Orwell’s 1984, that I rate as 5 Feathers have been rated as 1 by others. It is all subjective. However, reading other reviews sometimes gives me new insights. Expanding upon what one such reviewer on Amazon proposed: a good question is whether The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde does not thrill many people as much as expected because perhaps we have become desensitized? While, this book didn’t shake my (modern) world, I recommend this book because it is a classic and was rather original when written for an audience that perhaps was not so desensitized to the acceptance that man may also have evil within him.