My experience with the story of Jekyll and Hyde before reading the book (or, novella, I suppose? It’s so short!) had been quite limited. Everyone knows the vague story of course, as with Frankenstein, as it’s referenced frequently. Prominently, I remember a song from the kids show “Arthur” that was pretty great, and the basis for the title of this post. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiB4dMwDFtg). But I had no knowledge on how the story was originally written, which is why I was surprised that the protagonist was not Dr. Jekyll, but more Mr. Utterson.
I was expecting the story to be told from the point of view of Jekyll and Hyde, and was at first slightly confused with who this Mr. Utterson was, and what his significance was. But it quickly started to make sense as I realized this is a sort of mystery novel, and Mr. Utterson is our curious detective. Unfortunately, there was really no “puzzle-piecing” to be done by us, the reader, as we all knew the plot twist before we even opened the book. However, despite being cheated out of surprize, it was still a good read. Not fantastic, but good. I guess I just didn’t find any of it particularly exciting or captivating. It was good, don’t get me wrong (side note: you’d be hard pressed to find a text in this reading list that I strongly dislike.) but it didn’t inspire any particularly strong feelings in me. Though I did feel significant disbelief that Utterson doesn’t read the letter given to him Layton right away. How could he have so much control of his curiosity? What kind of make-shift detective doesn’t investigate all the clues? The lesson to be learned here is that lawyers make bad detectives. But, somehow he doesn’t read the letter until Jekyll really is dead. I was also quite confused by Dr. Layton’s death. He sees the transformation of Hyde to Jekyll, has some kind of break down, and soon dies…? I mean, I’m sure it wasn’t a pretty sight, and I’m sure the knowledge would be quite traumatizing, but he really just dies? And doesn’t tell anyone what he saw? I was a tad perplexed by that. But, my complaints aside, the issue of Dr. Jekyll’s personality spit was quite intriguing, and I’m looking forward to the monster discussion that may occur. Is Dr. Jekyll a monster as well as Mr. Hyde? Jekyll is the one who “creates” Mr. Hyde, by bringing him out from within himself. And yet, Jekyll is still a “good person” and doesn’t do anything terribly atrocious beyond creating Hyde. I have to say, it was nice to have a monster who was quite evil for the sake of being evil. He wasn’t mistreated by society and as a result becomes cruel and unfeeling. From the moment Hyde emerges from Jekyll his purpose is really solely to be destructive, let out steam. Looking forward to seeing how this is discussed in the lecture, see you all there!