I loved how Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was written even though the premise was familiar to me. I had to force myself to read it as though I was in the 19th century and had never heard the term Jekyll and Hyde applied to people or had never seen filmed versions of the story. Trying to read it this way at times required a little more effort than other stories I’ve read, but it was worth it.
The mystery surrounding Dr. Henry Jekyll’s acquaintance, Edward Hyde, unravels slowly in the thoughts of his lawyer, Mr. Utterson. It’s this unraveling that Stevenson depicts so well. The reader is kept in an intense suspense through murder and mayhem. The last part of the story comes in the form of a letter written by Jekyll explaining his situation from a physical standpoint as well as from a spiritual and mental perspective. Much of literature will portray the battle of good and evil, but rarely have I read a story where this battle takes place within one individual in such a terrifying manner, as Jekyll writes:
I became, in my own person, a creature eaten up and emptied by one thought: the horror of my other self.
The wonderful final line poses a question:
Here, then, as I lay down the pen, and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.
Who won the battle?