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Introduction to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Transcript of Introduction to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde is called a Novella Which means it is longer
than a short story but
shorter than a novel! He is Scottish He was very sick his whole life but
did not know why. Historians later
found out he had tuberculosis. He almost died on his trip from
France to California to marry his
newly divorced wife. *Scandal* He is no "one hit wonder."
Stevenson wrote many famous
novels and stories including Treasure
Island, the story of the pirate Long John
Silver *just like the restaraunt! T The concept of the "double self" or "twin" became very popular during the Victorian era. The term Doppelganger came from the obsession of having an alternate person/being.
-This idea is not only present in
this novella but also in
Frankenstein. "Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look around me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound life of duplicity."
-from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde "It deals with the relation of the baser parts of man to his nobler-of capacity for evil that exists in most generous natures, and it expresses these things in a fable which is a wonderfully happy invention"
-Henry James, American Novelist This novel was inspired by a nightmare that Stevenson had. He woke up and began to write. The rough draft was finished three days later. After reading it to his wife, she made some suggestions and the complete work was finished in three more days. *That's only six days from start to finish!!! Stevenson originally wanted the doctor's name to be pronounced JEEK-uhl which would be in his traditional Scottish tongue but the masses who were reading the book preferred the pronunciation we use today. SETTING VICTORIAN ERA Dr. Jekyll's home is in Cavendish Square which is where all of the upper class kept their homes Mr. Hyde's home is in Soho which is a slum neighborhood where the lower class lived. What predictions can you make based on the setting? In Victorian England it was always important in the upper and middle classes to avoid a scandal. Just because the people of the Victorian age promoted a high standard of morality, that doesn’t mean that they always practiced it. Alcoholism, drug use, adultery, and prostitution were still rampant during the time – it was just important that these things were kept quiet and not talked about in “polite society.”
When men and women went to the beach they would change into their bathing suits in a small shack called a bathing machine. The shack would then be wheeled into the water, so as to prevent the person from the “indignity” of having to walk down the beach and into the water, having everyone see them in their bathing suit. When men and women went to the beach they would change into their bathing suits in a small shack called a bathing machine. The shack would then be wheeled into the water, so as to prevent the person from the “indignity” of having to walk down the beach and into the water, having everyone see them in their bathing suit. Oh, men and women also swam in the water separately. It would have been scandalous for unmarried men and women to see each other in their “revealing” bathing suits. So why did this story get so popular?? The spirit of the time Britian was experiencing a period of rigorous social, economic, and spiritual changes. More men had the right to vote instead of just the upper class and people were, for the first time, trying to chagne their social class. To the upper class, Hyde represented the increasing political power of the working class that was causing them so much stress and fear. Religion The religious model of life (God created the universe) was under fire from Charles Darwin who posed the idea of evolution (the extremely slow and gradual changes species underwent in response to their environments.) Comfort in the idea of religion was replaced with skepticism of Darwinism, a radical new concept of life a struggle in which only the strongest survive (survival fo the fittest.) To those struggling with this concept, Hyde became the symbol of the "strong" (yet evil) individual who survived while Dr. Jekyll fell because Hyde paid no attention to societal standards or religion Psychology Sigmund Freud began investigations that would lead him to create psychoanalysis, a method of analyzing and treating emotional disorders. Freud believed that human beings are powerfully influenced by impulses of which they are not aware and which often express themselves in dreams. To Victorian society, Hyde represented man's desire to be freed from society's restrictions This is ironic since the novella was inspired by a nightmare!