It always seems like a bit of a cop-out to say how much I “liked” the book at the beginning of a post like this. But I really have to do it this time. I think, for some strange reason, this is my favorite story of all we’ve read so far. I’ll try to analyse this adoration, and hopefully in doing so make a blog post worthy of reading.
Duality is, to me, one of the most interesting ideas in the world. We as people have always liked to separate things into readable segments. Deconstruction for the sake of simplicity, if you will. Racism, Sexism, Violence and a whole bunch of nasty things seem a lot of the time from the idea of “parts”. There is this part, and it is good. There is this part, and that is bad. There is the part of politics that involves economy, and the part that involves environment. You are in charge of that part, he is in charge of that part, etc, etc. I’m not sure if things would be better or worse if we thought of these parts as a whole, but it would sure be different. That’s what religion does in a way, is make all these separate parts a whole. I’m fairly atheist at this point in my life, but I think that seeing things as a whole is a far more accurate view of people, and of the world. For example, economy and environment exist together, look after the environment, over time the economy will also change. This might sound like a rant a bit, but this is whole idea of a fractured whole is something that really fits into Jekyll and Hyde, and is why I can really ascribe to the idea that Stevenson is writing about the mix of good and evil in a person as a whole, rather than just the two parts as separate entities.Yes there is duality, but it is unnatural duality. It only shows us what is inside anyway. I think Stevenson might be saying that by forcing ourselves (all of society) to separate ourselves into good and evil we are causing ourselves more harm than if we just accepted both natures as a whole identity.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the ideas of repression, and the way that leads into the sexuality of the characters. This novella is burgeoning with repressed ideas I think. One of the reasons it was so popular might for that very reason. We need a literary or media related way to deal with repressed thoughts and feelings, and that is precisely what hide is. He is a walking bundle of human repressed thoughts. This is sort of a cynical view, that we as humans are all walking around hiding dark, malignant, malicious thoughts, and that definitely may be, but I think it’s interesting that by reading into a story like this in such a number of different ways we are still really just realizing our own perceptions and repressions. Good job Stevenson.