3-year old asks Dad: "How do you know if you are a pirate?" Dad obliges: "Go on?" "You just Argh!" Stereotypic, but Stevenson set the stereotypes within these works, in the same way that Shakespeare set up a lot of phrases that are now viewed as cliches: they work. Both tell tales so well that they have been quoted, imitated or emulated ever since. So failure to read the originals should be a simple parameter to allow others to describe the defaulter as illiterate.
Having known the story already behind this take, obviously watching cartoons and other adaptations of it. Knowing what the overall secret of it all did somewhat take the fun out of reading it. All I will say is that I am glad it was a shirt book and the only real gripping chapter in the book was the last where Jekyll describes his struggle with Hyde. It is the same struggle we all face everyday. The decision whether to be good or evil. I did like the example given that it it was to compare the struggle with th that of an alcoholic and deciding not to have the bottle. Still it is worth the read. My only wish is that we could have had more stories about the mishaps the Mr Hyde got himself into.
There's a recurring and underlying theme in a lot of Victorian fiction. British Imperialism is at it's height, and the gravity of domestic and global Industrialization, with all it's consequences is becoming readily apparent. People of a certain class have had their paradigm jolted to reveal a shift from moral self-inquiry to an almost existential inquiry of mans place in the world at all. There's a sense beyond traditional Catholic guilt, a kind of collective grief, silently mouthing "What have we done!?"
The strange case of Dr Jekyll deals with the remnants of the collective, identifiably human and moral challenges of the spirit, perceived by most as right from wrong, good and evil etc. It does go further, offering the reader a foray into personal psychological and spiritual vivisection while soothing us with an elegant yet gripping style so unique even for the time; but what makes this book so great is that despite the Victorian bent towards verbose, long-winded paragraphs about what type of day it was, it does it all in around 55 pages.
Great story, well told about the dangers of drugs and how letting your dark side shine isn't always healthy? Check. Want to delve into a state of Quasi-Philosophical existentialism, but are pressed for time and would rather read the brochure? Check. Free to download and can instantly review the meaning of big/weird words on your device? Check.
A definite should-read, with no real excuse at 55 pages. Do they even have this in schools as required reading anymore, I wonder?