Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The book has been written by R.L. (Robert Louis) Stevenson and was published in 1885.
The story takes place in London. It happnes on the streets (e.g. the street, where the real story starts), in the houses of the main characters, but these houses are not very important. Dr Jekyll has a laboratory at the back of his house.
The story takes place in the nineteenth century. I know this because in the book they talk about for example a servant, the butler, gaslights, a carriage and walking sticks. This were objects that people used in the nineteenth century. You still have butlers and walking sticks now but you don't see them very much. The story has a chronological structure, with a few flashbacks. One of the flashbacks can is where Mr Enfield tells Mr Utterson a story about a man who had collided with a girl and trampled over her body. Mr Enfield remembers this man very well, but he is not able to describe how he looks. The man gave Mr Enfield one look, so ugly that it made Mr Enfield sweat like he was running. Mr Enfield and some bystanders had forced the man, who gave his name as Hyde, to pay damages to the child's family. The man goes into a house and returns with ten pounds in gold and a cheque for the balance, signed with a name, at least very well-known and often printed. Later in the story you find out that this name was Dr Jekyll.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a moral tale. What happened to Dr Jekyll could have happened, in another way, to any man who doesn’t keep the evil side of his nature in check. Every man has some evil in him. The subject of the book is good and evil. In this story it’s made clear that every man has evil in him. Everybody has a good and a bad side. The genre is probably a thriller because it’s an exciting story and also a little bit scary.
Dr Henry Jekyll is a well-known person in London. He has a good personality and needs to keep up his good reputation. He is a nice man with a lot of (good) ideas. He wants to do something important with his life-that’s what he lives for. He’s a very rich man. He has a laboratory, where he works. He comes up with a drug which makes him capable of transforming into another person. With this new body, in the appearance of Mr Hyde, he's able to be bad but also able to keep up his good reputation as Dr Jekyll. In his statement of the case Dr Jekyll gives us his life story. He explains his feelings and explains why he killed Mr Hyde, and doing so, himself.
Mr Hyde doesn’t care about other people. He also is a murderer. It’s a very cruel man who only cares about himself. If you cross his way, you have to be very careful, otherwise he’ll kill you! You have to stay out of his business. Mr Edward Hyde is the opposite of Dr Henry Jekyll. He is a feared and very evil man. He appears after Dr Henry Jekyll has taken his self-made drug. From a certain point onwards Mr Hyde presents himself even without taking the drug. You don't get to know Mr Hyde as well as Dr Jekyll. You don't see Mr Hyde talking to people very much. He lives by his own and doesn't want to get to know anyone any better.
Mr Utterson, a lawyer, and his cousin, Mr Richard Enfield, were taking their Sunday morning walk in London when they passed a dark, empty house in a narrow street. Mr Enfield told Mr Utterson that one morning he had witnessed a horrible accident at the doorway of the old building. An ugly-looking man, short and a little bit deformed, had collided with a little girl and trampled over her body. Enfield and some bystanders had forced the man, who gave his name as Hyde, to pay damages to the child's family. Hide entered the house with a key and came back with a cheque. The next day they went to the bank and to Enfield's surprise, the cheque was legal. Enfield and Utterson don't understand how Hyde got the key.
Utterson knew a little about Hyde and Hyde's strange connection with the respectable Dr Jekyll. Returning to his house he re-read Jekyll's will, which provided that all Dr Jekyll's possessions were to pass to Edward Hyde. There was also a note that Hyde should take possession immediately in case of Henry Jekyll's "disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months". Utterson decided to make investigations. He first called on Dr Jekyll's lifelong friend, Dr Lanyon. It appeared that the relations between the two doctors were severely strained. Dr Lanyon, who looked very ill and exhausted, said that Dr Jekyll was no longer the man he used to be.
Next Utterson looked for Mr Hyde. He found him in front of the deserted house. Hyde stared at him angrily, but before he disappeared into the house he gave Utterson his address in Soho. He then went to Jekyll's house, but Dr Jekyll wasn’t there. Jekyll's butler, Poole, told Utterson that Hyde had a key to the laboratory and that he himself had orders to obey Mr Hyde. Utterson began to believe that Hyde was blackmailing Jekyll and might ultimately kill him.
Utterson spoke to Jekyll when they had dinner together. Utterson offers Jekyll to help him with Mr Hyde, but Jekyll says that that is impossible and makes Utterson promise to be fair with Mr Hyde. About a year later the old, respected Sir Danvers Carew, a MP and a client of Utterson's, was found murdered. The maid had seen a man who she recognised as Mr Hyde, who had once visited her master, and whom she did not like. Utterson brought the police to Hyde's home in Soho, where they found out that Hyde had disappeared. Dr Jekyll showed Utterson and the police a letter signed by Hyde in which he wrote that he was going away forever. He had left the stick with which Sir Danvers had been beaten to death at the scene of the murder. Utterson recognised it as one he had given to Jekyll. Besides, a handwriting expert told him that Hyde's letter was written in a hand identical with that of Jekyll. Utterson shuddered at the thought that Jekyll might be protecting a murderer. Jekyll was like a few years before, but after Utterson had talked to Lanyon, who already knew he wouldn't live much longer, Utterson heard that Jekyll didn't want to see him too often. Jekyll told him that it was his punishment. Dr Lanyon died. Among the papers he left was an envelope addressed to Utterson and containing another envelope marked "Not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Henry Jekyll".
One Sunday morning Utterson and Enfield were again walking past the deserted house. Now they saw that it was an additional wing to Dr Jekyll's house used as a laboratory. This explains why Hyde had a key! Looking up they saw Dr Jekyll sitting at a window with a very sad expression on his face. Suddenly some great horror or pain seemed to come upon him and he closed the window abruptly. Greatly agitated, Dr Jekyll's butler called on Utterson one night. He reported that his master had shut himself up in his laboratory for a week, refusing to show himself and writing curious notes in which he asked the butler to go to all the chemical houses in London and get him certain drugs.
Utterson went to Jekyll's house. He and Poole thought that Jekyll was murdered and that the murderer was still inside (they heard Hyde's voice). They broke into Jekyll's laboratory with an axe. Inside they found Edward Hyde, dead, with a bottle of poison beside him. There was not a trace of Dr Jekyll, dead or alive. But they did find some papers left by Jekyll: a confession addressed to Utterson, a will drawn up in his favour, and a note telling him to open Dr Lanyon's envelope.
Utterson returned home and went through all the documents. Dr Lanyon's letter solved the mystery. He wrote that one night Hyde had appeared at his office, dressed in clothes that were far too large for him and looking desperate. He claimed some drugs which Dr Jekyll had left there for him some time ago. Jekyll had sent Lanyon a letter in which he asked him to go to his house and get a drawer and return with it and wait till Hyde would appear. On swallowing the drugs Hyde had suddenly been transformed into Dr Jekyll, while Dr Lanyon looked on overcome by horror. The shock had caused Dr Lanyon's death.
Dr Jekyll's own letter of confession was more detailed. He wrote that he had invented a chemical witch changed him completely from the good, kind, respectable Dr Jekyll into the horrible fiend Mr Hyde. As Edward Hyde he was free to roam the dark, shady parts of London, become a member of the underworld and commit crimes without fear of recognition. Gradually the Hyde personality became the stronger one. In spite of his efforts Jekyll did not succeed in banishing Hyde. He needed more and more drugs to transform into Dr Jekyll. After a time Jekyll could no longer get the chemicals necessary to transform him back into his better self. In despair he shut himself up is his laboratory, experimenting with one drug after another. All was in vain. There was no way but to kill himself.
EXPLAIN THE TITLE
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the title of the book I have read for this book report. I think the author has chosen this name, because you don’t know what it means. You think the story is about two different people. First you see Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as to different persons, but they aren't. The truth is Dr Jekyll the same person as Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll has invented a kind of drug, whereby he changed in another person. So the title gives the wrong expectation. You think there are two persons, but there is only one.
PERSONAL OPPINION – Adam Cornelissen
In my opinion this is a very good and exciting book. You get absorbed in the story. In the beginning the don't quite understand what is going on. You think Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are two persons, but they are one, in fact. You expect one thing, but you get to read the other.
The lines on the back of the book gave a very mysterious expectation. It gave the impression that the book was full of action and mystery; and that’s what I like.
Some of the events that occurred in the story could not happen in real life, but that’s just why the story is interesting. Even though some was fake, the author has written it in a very convincing way. You really believe what is going on. When an author is able to convince you of a story that’s not real, I think it’s very good.
The main characters are like real people. I can imagine there are people like them. For example, I can imagine Dr Jekyll wants to be able to do bad things for one time. I think many people have such thoughts once in a while. So I can understand his behaviour and I also understand why he had to kill himself in the end. This man didn’t want to hurt people all the time, but after some months, that was the only thing he could do. So I think killing himself was the best thing to do.
The story wasn’t hard to read and you began to understand everything better, when you were further in the story.
At some moments, I even found the story exciting. For example, when Mr Utterson and Poole, Dr Jekyll’s servant, break the door of Dr Jekyll’s cabinet open with an axe and find Mr Hyde.
The only thing I would change in this book is the perspective. I rather would have seen the story told from the
first person perspective. In that way, you can enter into a part much more easy and it gets more real, because you feel you are taking part in the story.
The kind of language used in the story wasn’t very hard to understand. Putting this all together I can say I have enjoyed reading this book and I can recommend it to everybody.