Mary Reily And Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
Morgan Levy Comparison Essay The book Mary Reilly is the sequel to the famous The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and ...
Morgan Levy Comparison Essay The book Mary Reilly is the sequel to the famous The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a stark, ingeniously woven, engaging novel. That tells the disturbing tale of the dual personality of Dr. Jekyll, a physician. A generous and philanthropic man, his is preoccupied with the problems of good and evil and with the possibility of separating them into two distinct personalities. He develops a drug that transforms him into the demonic Mr. Hyde, in whose person he exhausts all the latent evil in his nature. He also creates an antidote that will restore him into his respectable existence as Dr. Jekyll. Gradually, however, the unmitigated evil of his darker self predominates, until finally he performs an atrocious murder. His saner self determines to curtail those alternations of personality, but he discovers that he is losing control over his transformations, that he slips with increasing frequency into the world of evil. Finally, unable to procure one of the ingredients for the mixture of redemption, and on the verge of being discovered, he commits suicide. Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin, is a powerful and moving novel. It takes the story Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, and gives a fresh take on the distinguished Dr. Henry Jekyll and the nefarious Mr. Edward Hyde. It is told through the psyche of a Victorian servant named Mary Reilly. The book s structure purports to be Mary Reilly s diary. The entries articulate Mary Reilly s feelings and experiences while in service for Dr. Henry Jekyll, and how she often empathizes with Dr. Jekyll on his afflictions which she cannot comprehend. As the book progresses Mary Reilly continuously comments on her Masters every changing state of health. Towards the end of the book her mother passes away leaving Mary in grief. Soon after this personal catastrophe, she encounters Mr. Hyde while looking around out side. In this confrontation Mary is bitten on the shoulder by Hyde and is near death when Hyde abruptly ceases his frenzy. Not long after this the body of Mr. Hyde is found dead in Jekyll s laboratory. Naturally two books related to each other in this way have their similarities and differences in certain areas. Most of the similarities between both books fall in the areas of historical correctness and actual happenings to characters. In terms of historical correctness, the abundance of historical detail is purely authentic. The only flaw, which I look at more as comic relief is the mention of Mary using an Omnibus to get across town. Due to the fact that Mary Reilly was so meticulously crafted, the events in the book were in compliance with Stevenson s original. Despite the books many similarities, there is also a presence of differences, especially in the areas of writing style, the narrator s point of view, and the significance of certain characters. The writing style of Stevenson in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of extreme articulation, and elaborence, and is more difficult to interpret, one, because of the time he was writing in, and two, because it uses very complex words. The writing style of Valerie Martin in Mary Reilly is a complete contrast from Stevenson s style. Martin s writing, while articulate, is much easier to interpret. Martin does not use the kinds of difficult sentence structures and complex words that Stevenson used, furthermore, it is more subtle. Another major difference between Martin and Stevenson s books is the point of view of the narrator. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story is told through two different views at different times. In the beginning the story is told through the eyes of someone looking down into the story. But as time progresses the character Mr. Enfield takes over, this narrative switch takes place throughout the book. However, in Mary Reilly the story is told through the eyes of Mary Reilly. Valerie Martin has done an astonishing job in keeping the events and people in her novel in sync with the events and people originally depicted by Stevenson. However, because Mary Reilly is focused on the character Mary Reilly instead of being focused on Dr., Jeckyl, like in Stevenson s novel, some character s have changed such as Dr. Jeckyl, Mr. Hyde, Poole, Cook, and of-course, Mary Reilly. Meaning that when characters were described, what was said, how it was said, and what effect it had on the reader, is different. Dr. Jeckyl is a significant character in both Stevenson s and Martin s books. However, Dr. Jeckyl is represented differently in each book. In Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll comes across as a once kindly Doctor, wealthy and content with life, that abruptly turned cold, and became a scientific man engrossed in metaphysics, who obsesses over the principles of dual human nature. Stevenson represented this view best from the following excerpt from the book, "But it is more than ten years since Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong, wrong in mind ;and although I continue to take an interest in him for old sake s sake, as they say, I see and I have seen devilish little of the man." This excerpt said that Dr. Jekyll did indeed, have an unfortunate change of character, and that when this change was noticed, the ones closest to him greeted it with despondency. The excerpt was expressed by Dr. Lanyon when sadly looking back on the collapse of his as well as Mr. Enfield s, relationship with Henry Jekyll. When I came across this quote I felt as if I was reading about a lost soul. I realized what a tragedy it was for such a scholarly and cultured man to be wasted on a mere obsession, instead of using his talents to help humanity. Nonetheless in the book Mary Reilly Dr. Jekyll is represented as a once well known philanthropist and doctor, who secretly has an obsession with his scientific investigations, an obsession which progressively deteriorates his health, and eventually weakens him to the point of bedridden exhaustion. Valerie Martin is not able to portray this view properly in a single excerpt from the book, rather she needs two excerpts in order in most excellently portray Jekyll. The first excerpt in the book is as follows, "It was a wonder to me that the master noticed my scars, as I was on my knees blackening the grate and black to my elbows, but he is an observant gentleman and perhaps he had noticed them some earlier time. He was sitting across the room from me in his leather reading chair, not even facing me but to one side and absorbed, so I imagined, in pursuing some scientific treatise." This quite lengthy excerpt said many things about Jekyll, first, when Mary said that Master (Dr. Jekyll) might have noticed her scars at an earlier time, it suggests that he was a considerate man, in that he mentioned the scar while they were alone rather than causing Mary any embarrassment in front of others. Second, the excerpt as you can see states that he was a gentleman, this is significant because it means that he also was polite to his servants. As you know the excerpt is taken from the part when Mary Reilly is looking back on the time when Master notices her scar. It seems to be stated with some confusion almost as if the situation puts Mary in a state of uncalled-for amazement. The excerpt was very effective in explaining elements of Jekyll s persona. I found it interesting how such subtle thing could be interpreted as an explanation of one's psyche. It left me with a basis of understanding that would allow me to, as the book progressed, further under stand Jekyll s character. The second excerpt needed to best describe Jekyll s character is, "That night Mr. Poole told us that Master had made himself ill from too much study and hardly touching his food, so for two days he did not leave his bed." This except said that Jekyll was deeply involved in his work, so to the point of it coming before health in terms of priorities. This quote is stated in a way that suggests Jekyll s deteriorating health has become the norm in the house, and
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