Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mister hide and dr. jekyll

One- sorry this is posted late; my internet at home went down last night.

What can one say about this novel; it’s a classic- one of the novels that started science fiction. One thing I love about this novel is the duality that exists between the characters. First, the obvious duality between dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- dr. Jekyll is the up standing, handsome, moral, Freudian super-ego; while Mr. Hyde is the un-moral, animalistic, grotesquely undefinable, Freudian id. The duality between the two characters that exist with in the same frame- is at the core the same man. Mr. Hyde does only what Dr. Jekyll is afraid to do, what society prevents him from doing. Mr. Hyde does horrible things, some of them very vague. the duality that exists in this novel is comparative to that of schizophrenia but sadly- its a willing schizophrenia. I think it does bring some attention to the blight of schizophrenia.
Another duality is the male/male relationship and the severe lack of any significant female role. This was also present in Frankenstein. I think the lack of any female role is certainly something to pay attention to. The hollow male/male relationship between Mr. Utterson and Dr. Jekyll is a perfect example. These men have no pending business, or really anything to say, but because it is routine and the men are ‘old friends’, these men will forego all other social invitations to be with the other man. I also think the lack of any female presence is significant. I think this may be a sexual statement. Women during this time were not in men’s business- and this is a story about the professional Victorian man. I think the separation of the sexes and a woman’s place is loudly stated through its absence and its lack of significance with in the novel. The woman’s place was in the home, a vast realm removed from that of the man’s business world. This is opposite of Frankenstein because though there are no female characters; the want of the monster for a female creation, the want of a mate- creates a ghostly female presence for the novel as a whole. But the only possibility for a female presence is through Mr. Hyde’s vague experiences. Perhaps one of those ‘blocked’ experiences was of a sexual nature.
I think the absence of any male sexual experience is also significant. The Dr. Jekyll character wouldn’t been seen having sex because he represents the ideal Victorian man. He is smart, polished, sociable, and in his own realm; it would have been out of his staunch Victorian character to engage openly in sexual acts. As he is our narrator for a portion of the novel, his sexual experiences wouldn’t be written down for our view. I feel like Mr. Hyde should have sexual experiences, the lack of them is seemingly unfulfilling to me. As it is a Victorian novel sexual experiences are often coded and hidden- but here they are completely absent.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Split Personality

I'm going to write about something very close to my heart and after reading most of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I think it's completely relevant to things that have happened in my life.

This novella seems to touch on a lot of different themes and ideas that are easy to relate to. The idea of the split personality is something that I can understand greatly. And although I am not writing about someone who suffers from a split personality disorder, I have lived my life with an alcoholic.

Like the characters of Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll, this person used substances to morph into the kind of person that they wanted to be to be comfortable with situations and their life. Dr. Hyde uses the potion to morph himself into someone who has no conscious to try to cope with his bad urges so that he feels nothing for them just like an alcoholic uses alcohol to deal with uncomfortable situations or to suppress feelings of unhappiness or sadness that they find impossible to deal with outside of the use of substance.

After a while though, it becomes difficult to see the difference between the alcoholic and the person that is sober, just as Dr. Jekyll began to morph into Mr. Hyde unknowingly. The potion however, can only be used in higher and higher doses as it seems that it has little to know effect on helping Dr. Jekyll keep himself from changing and morphing into the evil that he always is trying to suppress.

In my life I have found that sometimes as the alcoholic gets further into their disease it begins to take a hold of them. It takes a hold of every aspect of their life and there comes a point where the affects are irreversible. It begins to affect everyone around them without the alcoholic even realizing what they are doing or who they are hurting.

This is exactly what happened with Jekyll and Hyde and I thought that it was a really interesting comparison to make since I have lived first hand with someone who I have seen morph and change right before my eyes into something that I knew they did not want to be but had no control over.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the end of the editors narrative and the beginning of confessions

First, I want to say I miss-phrased in my past post- the priest is not a Catholic priest but a protestant minister.
After Robert takes George’s place, estate and money- George’s faithful friend, Mrs. Logan, tries to find his killer. She doesn’t think the person accused has actually done any harm to George. She finds a witness to the crime, a Bell Calvert; who is in rather scruffy condition and stands accused of breaking into Mrs. Logan’s residence. After she is acquitted of this crime, she agrees to tell her story to Mrs. Logan. From the story told Mrs. Logan deduces that George’s killer is in fact his devious religious brother Robert. With the information from the witness Mrs. Logan has enough evidence to go to the police. The authorities hurried to the estate where Robert and his biological mother now live, when the authorities arrive; they found both Robert and his mother gone. This is the conclusion of the editor’s narrative.
I find it ironic that the righteous and religious mother and son are the ones running from justice. Also, this brings to mind the title of the novel & how the novel satires the religious fantasism that existed in Europe during this time. The two ‘righteous’ characters are the ones who are actually sinners and on the run for a crime committed. Murder is an offense of the state and an offense of religion. But, the two ‘righteous’ characters still retain their former religious fortitude.
The Sinner’s Confessions begins with Robert’s side of the story instead of the out side narrative voice of the Editor’s Narrative. One would think this portion of the novel would be present to make Robert sound more sympathetic, more appealing to the reader, but in fact it makes him less sympathetic and almost cruel. Robert claims to have had a difficult life, first with his father’s abandonment and then his life living with the pastor. But as a child, he is a cocky bigot and tries to be better than those he sees as inferior to himself and even lies to get credit in the eyes of his elders. He is rough and cruel with his speech, and dislikes most people, even his own mother who he dislikes for her modesty. Although, he does say that he is a sinner, but justifies it because he doesn’t mean to sin it occurs by accident. Robert then tells of the most important occurrence in his life, meeting Gil. Gil looks very much like Robert and acts very much like Robert, only he does not participate in religious things with Robert. In fact, it kind of seems like Gil is in fact the devil or a daemon of the devil, he says that he is not a Christian. But where I stopped reading, the specifics of Gil’s situation are still vague. But I would find it ironic if Gill was the devil, because then not only is Robert an outlaw of the state, but he would be an outlaw of god as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another cain and abel?

In the first half of the book, the focus is on the history of the two brothers, george & robert. Though they are of the same parentage, one is brought up by the biological father and the other is brought up by the priest of the biological mother. The mother who is passively absent from the boys’ life except in birth, was so fearful of her husband’s sinning ways that she split her sons apart. The ironic thing about the split is the son she wants on a righteous path is the one who strays. The son who is brought up in sin and indulgence is more seemingly proper. The brother brought up by the biological father (george) is privileged and the golden child of his father. He has no real knowledge of his brother, only relative knowledge. He knows he has one but not the specifics of the situation. The brother brought up by the priest of the mother (robert) is a religious zealot, who has no poise or grace and is in almost every way the opposite of his brother. The brothers meet during a tennis match where george is playing and robert interferes with the game in any way feasibly possible. He stands in the middle of the match trying to impede play, and even after being hit and discouraged several times, the boy still returns. Though this shows some tenacity in wanting to be a presence in his brother’s life, I think it was gone about in the wrong way. The brother brought up by the priest is very jealous of the privilege and station that his brother george has. He sees it as his right, his place and has very childish wishes and wants regarding the situation. george tries to tell his father of the situation at hand and how his brother is trying to insinuate himself into the life that george has, but the father just tells the boy to let it roll off his back and not pay it any mind. This was a horrible mistake and led to the death of his beloved son. The ‘religious’ brother eventually kills off his other brother in a rage that is reminiscent of Cain and Abel. The father shortly follows the son into the grave leaving robert to inherit what he believed to be his in the first place. The brother of god doesn’t feel remorse for his actions but believes that he has done no wrong either to his dead brother or his dead father. The rage and discontentment that the brother feels is not likely to be soothed with his father’s estate or his father’s money. It also leaves the remaining brother living on the seedy side of life, he has killed his remaining biological family, one directly and the other as a result of his actions. The brother of god feeling no remorse for murder, a religiously punishable offense is interesting to note, one would think growing up in a strict religious background would cause the brother to lead a more ‘straight and narrow’ kind of life, instead of one full of murder, lies and stealing.