Rereading “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

dr jekyll and mr hyde

picture credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Initially, I thought rereading novels, no matter how great they are, would be such a waste of time. Why bother your time by reading books that you already know their plots, their endings? What’s the point for that activity? This view stuck in my head after I tried to reread Tortilla Flat a couple of months ago. I gave up reading the book for the second time. I didn’t get any hilarious sensations I once enjoyed during my first attempt. But don’t get me wrong though. I love this novel a lot but I think this won’t be in my reread list in the future. Probably, I wasn’t in a good mood at that time.

Given the failed attempt, I did not know what went through my mind when I bought Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when I entered Kinokuniya bookstore last month. All I can remember was that I needed a kind of intermezzo as I got stuck in reading The Return of the Native, a classic book by Thomas Hardy. So I believed that reading the horror, mysterious novel would later pump my spirit to resume my reading of the classic romance story.

I first knew the book during one of my reading classes in the college. My lecturer introduced this novel to us and this fascinated me so much. I always love this kind of book theme; split personality, a battle between good versus evil in one’s soul, etc. After about eight years or so, I stumbled again this novel and found my love goes deeper than ever.

During my first reading (because my lecturer asked for us to read the book), all I digested was mere about the plot and the characters. And after the second attempt, I fully understand why the book is hailed as one of the best classics of this genre. All I can say is that the novel is very beautiful despite its horror theme. It amazes me how Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this epic novel about a wicked person called Edward Hyde without putting the words, like fuck, shit, damn or such harsh words.

The core of the story is about Dr. Jekyll who transforms into Hyde, someone with a truly opposite characteristic of the doctor. The doctor formulates chemical reactions to shape Hyde’s physical appearance so much different with his. The mystery opens with a curious accident when Hyde tramples a girl in the dead of the night when lawyer Utterson and his friend accidentally walk across the place where which the incident takes place. Hyde’s strange physical appearance drags the lawyer into questions and since then the story is on. The murder of Sir Danvers takes the novel to its peak coupled by the death of Dr. Lanyon, Jekyll and Utterson’s best friend.

How the writer develops the overall plot and how he ends this you should find it by yourself (for those who haven’t read it). The language of the book is too beautiful to be told here. *lame excuses*

Every word, sentence is carefully crafted to deliver mystery after mystery that occurs to the main characters. Each depiction of scene is perfectly fitted with the overall story. In particular, I am so enthralled by the author’s way in describing the doctor’s transition, both physically and emotionally, as Hyde. I don’t what else can I say about the book other than the word: brilliant!

Plus, the book that I bought is equipped with “difficult” analysis from Vladimir Nabokov, the writer of Lolita.  So, you can imagine that the relatively thin book leaves me with heavy thoughts in my head I can almost hardly be able to bear. I think I’ll read the novel again for the third, fourth, fifth time in the future because the last few pages contain wonderful confessions from the doctor that I find it so hard to understand. Poor me!

Anyway, the novel is completely worth reading no matter how many times you take. It’s always interesting to see how your views may change after you read a particular book for more than once.

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