347 Final.pdf - Bryce Feery Eng 347 Dr Maltz The Strange...

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Bryce Feery 2/25/2018 Eng 347 Dr. Maltz The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , and the Curious Case of Dissociative Identity Disorder The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a gothic and mysterious tale that delves deep into the darkness of the human mind. By doing this, Stevenson touches upon the very serious and ever relevant issue of human psychology and cognitive dissociation. This is cleary notable in Dr. Jekyll whose very mind and body begin to change as his personality shifts from his own to his alter: Mr. Hyde, and it becomes even more of a central theme as Dr. Jekyll loses control of this transformative process. Hyde and Jekyll represent two sides of the same coin, for they are the same person and are merely two different aspects of the same individual. This sort of idea was fitting for the time in which Stevenson was living: a time in which the science of the human mind was still very much being discovered, and humanity was beginning to understand the complexity of cognition. Dr. Jekyll and his counterpart both innately represent the concept of dissociation, in which a person develops a new identity, complete with morals and personality, and will often assume this identity for many reasons. Literary critics such as Nancy Gish or Richard Dury, in particular, note that many psychological case studies influenced Stevenson’s writing. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde , in doing this, gives readers a glimpse into the world of the human cognition and portrays the Victorian ideas of psychology.
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde details the mysterious relationship between its two titular characters. On one hand, there is the respectable and well liked Dr. Jekyll and on the other hand there is Mr. Hyde who is immediately met with an “unknown disgust, loathing, and fear” on sight (Stevenson 41). Throughout the tale, it becomes evident that Mr. Hyde uncovers some dark secret of Dr. Jekyll’s. From this point, readers, as well as the protagonist Mr. Utterson, attempt to discover just what Mr. Hyde might be using to, ostensibly, blackmail Dr. Jekyll. However, at the very end of story, it is revealed that Jekyll and Hyde are the same individual all along. In this element, Stevenson seems to be pulling from the world of psychology of the subconscious for inspiration. This implementation of psychological hysteria would not be out of the realm of possibility for Stevenson, who as a student of Edinburgh University and a member of the Speculative Society, “would have been exposed to contemporary ideas of non unitary consciousness and personality” and was even the secretary of the Psychological Society of Edinburgh (Dury 239). Clearly, Stevenson had a background that would allow his writing to be heavily influenced by the growing field of the human mind. Furthermore, many cases of mentally split individuals share some similarity with Stevenson’s. One such example of this is
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  • Fall '19
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Edinburgh, Dr. Henry Jekyll

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