I was in classics mode after reading Dracula and Pride and Prejudice, so I dove right into another -- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I originally became interested in this book because of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the movie. At the time when I first saw the movie, the only characters I was familiar with were Dorian Gray and Tom Sawyer. I became fascinated by the literary connections and began searching for more of the novel referenced. Now, I am nearly done with my quest, and plan to read the last two: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Invisible Man at some point during this year.
As for the book at hand, this was easily the fastest read for me so far this year. The basic story was as I knew it, but I felt that the message behind it was deeper than I expected. The story is all about capturing the two sides of an individual, the good and the bad. In the case of Dr. Jekyll, he manages to harness the bad and is consumed by it.
To me, that reeked of the essence of teenage rebellion. We all do it to some degree. We look for that little bit of bad to make ourselves feel free and in control and released from our parents. And then there's some point after that in which we realize that we're out of control and trapped in a different way -- in our need to be bad. Fortunately for most of us, we are able to come back from that with a little effort, but poor Dr. Jekyll succumbs to it and is lost forever. That happens to some too. I see it all the time at school. That kid that's hiding behind the bad he or she has become -- if you really look, you can see that it's not really where they want to be.
I think this story won me over more in lesson than in actual story. Good job for making me think, Robert Louis Stevenson. I commend you.