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Category: Midterm Essay (Page 1 of 2)

Kwame Clarke

Professor Sean Scanlan

ENG3407 (Gothic Literature and Visual Culture)


                 The Black Cat/The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Idea of depravity and the depths of how low the human ego can sink is a concept that has been explored for many years. In my opinion, two people who both emphasize these traits are Dr. Jekyll from “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and the narrator from the story “The Black cat”. Throughout each of these stories, different forms of gothic elements present themselves such as The Spirit of Pervessness, Gothic Irony, and The uncanny and I believe that these characters are the prime examples of these traits as we the readers observe their slow degeneration.

The story “The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde” starts off with the introduction and character of Henry Jekyll a well-Known doctor in his community and is especially noted for his decent and charitable habits to all. Dr.Henry however was involved in some less than virtuous acts in secret and found having to deal with the stress that came from such activities was too much of a burden. Henry then experiments to try and find a way to separate his “good” and “Evil” sides this results in the creation of a potion. This potion gave birth to a new side of Henry Aptly dubbed Mr.Hyde.With this Henry’s alter ego at the time, Mr.Hyde Commited increasing horrid acts when he was in control and as the story progresses we see that this only continues to devolve further to me this touches on The Spirit of Perverseness. I believe that the best scene the exemplifies this was when Henry said “At that time my virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by ambition, was alert and swift to seize the occasion; and the thing that was projected was Edward Hyde.” This Quote shows that slowly over time that Henry had to try and suppress Mr.Hyde as at the slightest moment his dark thoughts and actions could easily take over. This also causes the concept of gothic irony to show up as mentioned in the final parts of the story “I do not suppose that, when a drunkard reasons with himself upon his vice, he is once out of five hundred times affected by the dangers that he runs through his brutish, physical insensibility; neither had I, long as I had considered my position, made enough allowance for the complete moral insensibility and insensate readiness to evil, which were the leading characters of Edward Hyde. Yet it was by these that I was punished. My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring.”  Here we can see that Henry has fully given up on trying to repress Mr.Hyde as doing so seems to make behave in a state as if he was intoxicated and at the end instead of trying to suppress his urges, he let them loose despite fully accepting that Mr.Hyde is now a permanent part of him and his life.

In the Story “The Black Cat” We begin with the narrator who introduces himself and the events of his life. At the start of this story, it seems all is well as the narrator talks fondly of things such as how he married at a young age and his apparent love of animals. In particular, he mentions a fondness for a cat named pluto. As the narrator continues talking you can notice a change in his speech such as violent mood swings and apparent abuse he inflicts upon his wife. He can be shown to have the same likeness at first as Dr. Henry Jekyll and a kind person who was respected by those around him. Similar to Dr. Jekyll the narrator can be observed showing things like The Spirit of perverseness I  think this is best shown when says “One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; — hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; — hung it because I knew that it had loved me and because I felt it had given me no reason of offense”. We see that he delved into the spirit of perverseness committing a heinous act for the one purpose of committing such an atrocity. The narrator also experiences gothic irony When he says “Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or silly action for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such?”. Here we see that like Dr. Jekyll he embraces what is now becoming from a once virtuous man who believed in the principles of order embracing discord for no other reason than because he can.

The Stories “The Black Cat” and “The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ Show even the most upstanding characters of society can be influenced by not only their primeval natures but also by trying so hard to suppress and avoid the things that would be considered evil by most

Manuel Barreras – Midterm Essay

Manuel Angel Barreras

Gothic Literature 3407

The Spirit Of Perverseness Within The Gothic Period

Throughout the time period of this semester, There have been many encounters of different gothic texts and ideas that represent different underlying meanings and concepts. Some of these concepts that have been discussed throughout the time spent during the semester are the spirit of perverseness, gothic irony, uncanny, etc. When it comes to talking specifically about the spirit of perverseness, I’d like to focus on stories that compare the characters in the way that they use the spirit of perverseness for what wouldn’t be considered “normal”. In “The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “The Black Cat”, The comparison of Dr. Jekyll and the narrator of The Black Cat can show in what ways the use of the spirit of perverseness comes to them as an advantage, yet they end up with a result that seems to be a disadvantage instead. 

Within the story of The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  the character Dr. Jekyll essentially created the character, Mr. Hyde. From a readers point of view, This can be confusing, but the reasoning behind Mr. Hyde is actually to portray a dark side of Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Jekyll essentially used Mr. Hyde as his scapegoat into a different perspective on the world and what it is like to live with dark thoughts and motives, which realistically means that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same boy, but are two different people within one host. Because of this decision that Dr. Jekyll decides to take for himself, he then, in turn, becomes very sick as Mr. Hyde is becoming very uncontrollable within Dr. Jekyll. According to, “The Strange Case Of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde”, it states “The doctor seemed seized with a qualm of faintness: he shut his mouth tight and nodded. I knew it, said Utterson. He meant to murder you. You have had a fine escape. I have had what is far more to the purpose, returned the doctor solemnly: “I have had a lesson — O God, Utterson, what a lesson I have had! And he covered his face for a moment with his hands” (Stevenson, 1886, Chapter 5). With this specific piece from the text, it is very evident how because Dr. Jekyll wanting to explore the unknown (bad/evil) within himself, the spirit of perverseness, Mr. Hyde seems to gain control over Dr. Jekyll ultimately, and they both become this one evil entity that seeks to do all harm, Which can be connected to the narrator in The Black Cat because they decided to explore the unknown for themselves and it ultimately takes control over them.

To go into specifics of the narrator of The Black Cat, This character was already riddled by evil in his life, they would tend to make decisions for themselves that did not benefit anyone around them, And caused harm to themselves as well.  the narrator was someone that was an alcoholic who would abuse their animals all the time.  Within this story, there is one specific animal that the narrator takes a liking to and doesn’t feel the need to harm them the same way they would harm the other animals that live with them. I feel as if the reasoning as to why this story is named “The Black Cat” Is to show what becomes the focus of the narrator, what seems to be the main factor to take over the narrator as a whole. According to, “The Black Cat”, it states “For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse…among the vile haunts which I not habitually frequented” (Poe, 1843, Pages 7-8).  earlier on in the story, The narrator decides to her the animal that he seemed to have cherished the most, and because of this action, the narrator is then haunted by the spirit of the black cat in every aspect of his life. This Spirit of Perverseness that overtook the narrator to harm the cat that he cherishes the most, came with the same consequences that Dr. Jekyll received when his Spirit of Perverseness convinced him to create Mr. Hyde.  within both of these stories, these characters considered taking an action that would lead them to resolve their curiosity, but then in turn inflict harm on them as well. 

Between Dr. Jekyll and the narrator of The Black Cat,  it reveals what could bring out the worst in some characters. Within these two specific characters, the gothic temptation that overtook them became an everlasting effect on their lives showing what the Spirit Of Perverseness can do to someone as a result of taking this temptation. In conclusion, the characters of Dr. Jekyll and the narrator have shown perfect examples of how this term “ The Spirit Of Perverseness”  would be demonstrated in Gothic literature. 

midterm essay

Shemar Tyrell 

Professor Scanlan  

ENG 3407 Gothic Literature   

October 25, 2020 

Midterm essay 

                                                     Is change worth the risk? 

     In both novels, “the strange case of dr.jekyll and mr.hyde” by Robert louis Stevenson and “the black cat” by Edgar Allen poe , both characters dr.jekyll and the narrator of the black cat shared significant similarities but also shared some differences. Both of these characters started out as nice individuals but changed drastically towards the end of the novels. Both characters portrayed gothic emotions such as violence, passion, and cruelty. 

     In “the strange case of dr.jekyll and mr.hyde” dr.jekyll was a physician and a very prosperous one at that. Throughout the story he battles with the good side of himself and the bad side. That’s when we are introduced to mr.hyde who is basically jekyll’s alter ego. Jekyll develops a potion that allows him to separate his good and evil persona at will, but this did not work In his favor because Eventually hyde took over. One example of gothic emotions portrayed by Hyde is cruelty. “well sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing, for the man tramples calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground”(chapter 2). This shows cruelty for both jekyll and hyde. Although it wasn’t really dr.jekyll who walked over the child’s body it was his creation. Both stories also potray gothic irony. 

     The story black cat is based off the narrator who writes the novel from his jail cell after the events transpired. The narrator describes himself  as a very compliant person that had a love for animals. He married young and owned a lot of pets. His favorite was a his black cat pluto. The narrator begins to suffer from mood swings due to the facts that he had a obvious drinking problem. He comes home drunk one night and lashes out at pluto and cuts the cat eye. He wakes up the next morning feeling remorseful. Just like jekyll, he has two different personas due to an addictive drug, Only in this case its alcohol. He continues to be violent by killing the cat and later on kills his wife until he loses complete control of himself. This also shows the gothic emotion of cruelty and violence 

     The importance of violence and cruelty when comparing these two characters is too show the similarity between their disconsolate ending. Both characters change for the worst after starting off as good. Although their reasons are different,  they end up on the same path of darkness and despair. Jekyll wanted to be able to control his good and dark side at will but went about it the wrong way by taking a potion that he became addicted to. Now look at him, stuck as hyde with no hope of ever returning to his normal self. He became violent and cruel, Hurting and even killing people for no reason at all just like the narrator of black cat. His change, just like jekylls, was unintentional. I say that because after he got married he fell into the darker side of him and alcohol is to blame. I don’t believe that his intentions was to become an alcoholic, but just like jekyll he took something that he became addicted too. He begins to abuse his pets and his wife and soon kills them. 

     Another gothic element both these stories contain is gothic irony. Both texts had unexpected events that the readers were surprised about. We see this in the black cat when the narrator cuts out plutos eye. “I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity”(page 5). When we first learned about the narrator one of the biggest aspect of him was his love for animals. Knowing his cat pluto was his favorite, we did not expect him to do something so horrific to it. In “ the strange case of dr.jekyll and hyde” we see gothic irony when find out that hyde is actually jekyll counter part. We find this out when utterson reads jekylls confession letter. “I will say but one thing, Utterson, and that (if you can bring your mind to credit it) will be more than enough. The creature who crept into my house that night was, on Jekyll’s own confession, known by the name of Hyde and hunted for in every corner of the land as the murderer of Carew.”(chapter 9). We would never had suspected jekyll to be hyde because if his kind, good mannered nature but when we were shocked to find out that he is also a cruel murderous creature by the name of hyde. 

     To conclude, both characters show similar features and because of that they lead themselves to a world of despair and darkness. Jekyll who was nice and civilized at first was taken over by his own creation and became a violent and cruel person. He couldn’t stop drinking that addictive potion. And that’s what lead to his demise. The narrator of black cat started out the same way as jekyll. The only difference was his love for animals. But like jekyll he too changed into a violent and cruel person. The only difference was that his potion was alcohol. Both stories as a whole even showed similarities. They both showed character development and downfall in the same manner. 

Midterm Essay

Jamela Fontaine 

Professor Scanlan 

ENG 3407 Gothic Literature  

October 25, 2020

Gothic Literature are allegories foreshadowing modern day society ? 

Midterm Essay 

In the short novel, “ Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, author Robert Louis Stevenson conveys the spirit of perverseness through the actions of the main protagonist Dr. Jekyll, who seems to have an alter ego that’s the embodiment of his violent and evil urges. This strongly resonates with the theme of Shirley Jackson story, “the Lottery” in which a seemingly normal town’s annual tradition turns out to be something more sinister than drawing a piece of paper. The components of gothic literature which emphasize violence and the desire for a return to normalcy can be seen in our present world. Regardless of what horrible or tragic things we hear in the news or read online there’s always a return to normalcy, we just move on and forget until something similar occurs again. This is a very important allegory both stories highlight. 

Throughout the mystery that is the, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” a simple man named Mr. Utterson finds himself swept into whodunit situation when Mr. Enfield tells him about Hyde who trampled a girl recently, as Mr. Enfield continue to talk about Hyde who can only describe as, “must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point.(1)” As the mystery begins to unravel itself it become apparent that Hyde is Dr. Jekyll wicked counterpart made flesh by potion created by Dr. Jekyll; To justify he’s action Dr. Jekyll states in chapter 10, “When I would come back from these excursions, I was often plunged into a kind of wonder at my vicarious depravity. This familiar that I called out of my own soul, and sent forth alone to do his good pleasure, was a being inherently malign and villainous; his every act and thought centred on self;(5)” Although Dr. Jekyll acknowledged that Mr. Hyde was a part of him he refused to accept  that the actions of his counterpart as he’s own. Dr. Jekyll continues to put the blame on Mr. Hyde by stating, “It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse; he woke again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired; he would even make haste, where it was possible, to undo the evil done by Hyde. And thus his conscience slumbered.(5)”.  Dr. Jekyll’s way of returning to normalcy was to acquit himself of Hyde’s terrible deeds as though he wasn’t the reason Hyde was created. Nevertheless, the most ironic part of the entire story is that Dr. Jekyll was a respected doctor which is a profession that focuses on the well-being of others had such a perverse side that ended up committing numerous crimes such as murder. 

In the story, “ The Lottery” takes place in a town in which all the members of the community begin to gather on the 27 of June and draws slips of paper from a black box and whomever has a dot on there slip is declared the winner, however it is not as rewarding as modern day lottery in which you can win millions but instead a sentence to an early death. Main character Tessie Hutchinson who stands more than others since arriving late to on an important event she forgot took place that day. Up until the moment her family draws the marked paper Tessie is a bind follower of the tradition like the rest of the townspeople then she begins to open up her eyes. For instances, “Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly, and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.(5)” Tessie Hutchinson and Dr. Jekyll shared this commonality when it comes to the spirt of perverseness, they both try to evade the repercussions of their actions. If Tessie or her family was never deemed the winners of the lottery would she have protested the tradition? 

Another character that has similarities with with Dr. Jekyll from the, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde” Mr. Summer, who’s a seemingly simple business man who devotes he’s energy to “civic activities(1)” Although he holds a neutral role throughout the story he was a key member in the commencement of the annual lottery and held enough social power to possible get the tradition to stop like other towns did, however he did nothing. For example, “There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up–of heads of families, heads of households in each family, members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery.(2)”This relates to Dr.Jekyll who blamed Hyde for all his evil acts although he was an accomplice to the crimes just like Mr. Summer was to the fate of the townspeople. The story conclude with Tessie nominated as the winner followed by being stoned to death by her fellow neighbors. The gothic irony of this story was all through the story as the words used in the story portray positive connotations but ended leading up violent resolution. There’s also a betray of innocence through the story, specifically with the children of the town. In  the last paragraphs it’s stated, “The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready. . .The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.(6)” This is such an important allegory for modern day society because children are exposed to violence at such a young age without truly understand.

In conclusion both short stories, ‘ Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” written by Stevenson and “The Lottery” by author Shirley Jackson gothic concepts such as violence emphasizes the spirt of perverseness that isn’t online visible in literature but in our real life. Things don’t have to be the uncanny like it was in “the Lottery” to be seem in the reality we live in; Just as the fantastic, which may not be a blatantly obvious in our lives seeming as the supernatural stems from fiction but at times our reality comes pretty close to what is demonstrated in gothic literature. 

Victoria Isaac – Final Midterm Essay

Internal Conflict and Central Gothic Irony

Throughout the first half of this semester, we have read multiple stories with multiple gothic elements. Most of the elements displayed include but are not limited to the following: cruelty, lust, fear, violence, doing the forbidden, and acting violent beyond expectation. The Lottery and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde both display these gothic elements. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Tessie, and Mr. Summers portray these gothic elements in their own ways. These elements are displayed mainly through external and internal conflicts.

“The Lottery” follows the story of Tessie Hutchinson and Mr. Summers who hold the lottery as a tradition annually: one person is against the lottery, and one is for the lottery. “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” follows a mystery of who tramples a little girl in the beginning of the story, and when people argue that either Jekyll or Hyde were the ones who did it, they find out they are the same person. In comparing Jekyll and Hyde to Mr. Summers and Tessie, I will be exploring the different conflicts between the two pairs: external conflict and internal conflict. Could lust, fear and violence be the cause of the conflicts? Or could they be the catalyst for something worse? Within this comparison, I will be exploring the ideas of control, science, and the central gothic irony. The central gothic irony plays a huge part in both stories between all four characters. To answer these questions about conflict, I will first have to examine the conflict between Tessie and Mr. Summers and then examine the conflict between Jekyll and Hyde. Based on what I already know, Tessie and Mr. Summers have an external conflict since they are fighting with each other in terms of tradition and whether or not to keep the tradition of the lottery alive. Jekyll and Hyde have more of an internal conflict because they are ultimately the same person and they just switch back and forth between personalities depending on who they are around.

 Also with this comparison, I will be exploring the gothic elements of fear, violence, and control since both stories have these elements in common. I will explore who’s being feared and who’s controlling the violent acts in each story. I will also explore which character is being controlled if any. The biggest concept I want to explore is the idea of how central gothic irony plays in each story. After the results and the fates of all four characters, do these stories return to a sense of normalcy? Or is the sense of normalcy something that no longer exists?

These two stories portray the same gothic elements of fear, violence, and control in different ways. In “The Lottery”, the elements of fear and violence are displayed by the connection between Mr. Summers and Tessie. Mr. Summers is in charge of the lottery and chooses who lives and who dies. Tessie however, despises the idea of the lottery and believes that it “isn’t fair” and “it isn’t right” to hold this tradition every year (The Lottery, page 6). Tessie believes that the lottery being held every year is something that should be stopped. 

This concept in general is transgressive since it goes beyond the boundaries of conventional law. Normally we use a judicial system to determine who lives and who dies, and most times instead of a death sentence the usual punishment is jail time or community service. This story also displays control due to the fact that Mr. Summers determines who dies. He claims that he wants to “finish this quickly” (The Lottery, page 6) when they figure out who gets the black spot. Tessie repeatedly said it wasn’t right which made her afraid of tradition. The central gothic irony isn’t really determined in this story and if it is, then it is not clear. As readers, we can determine that there is a return to normalcy after Tessie gets stoned because the lottery follows tradition every year and nothing really changes each time the lottery is performed.

“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” also displays a sense of control throughout the story, especially when it comes to Jekyll and Hyde themselves. Science comes into play with this because in watching the film adaptation, Jekyll made a potion that would allow him to transition back and forth between himself and Hyde. In a way Jekyll controls the changes with the potion, but doesn’t control who he hurts. Unlike Mr. Summers and Tessie, who argue that this process isn’t fair, Jekyll and Hyde argue more with themselves. In the movie adaptation, when Lanyon tries to get Jekyll to convince everyone that he was the one who committed the act, Jekyll immediately states “I’m Dr. Jekyll. I’ve done nothing. You’re looking for a man named Hyde. I’m Dr. Henry Jekyll.” That indicates that Hyde has some power but not over Jekyll, just over his own actions. 

The central gothic irony is a big thing that both of the stories display but at the same time in some instances it feels like the central gothic irony is missing from both stories. “The Lottery” ends when Mr. Summers sees Tessie with the black spot on the paper and he asks to “finish this quickly”, this meaning having Tessie stoned. It ends with her saying that it wasn’t fair and she gets stoned. The story doesn’t specifically say if the lottery still continues for the next few years after or if it eventually got cancelled so the theme of the central gothic irony is still quite unclear. 

At the end of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Utterson reads the will that all of Dr. Jekyll’s belongings would go to Hyde, but they are the same person so if Jekyll is dead then Hyde is dead too. Instead, he left everything to Mr. Utterson and not Hyde. Even before that Jekyll states that “I have done nothing.” which shows that Hyde has a little more control than Jekyll does. It’s different from Mr. Summers because although neither of them physically committed a crime of any sort, or at least they claim they didn’t, Mr. Summers stayed alive at the end. Since Tessie was the only one who went against Mr. Summers and the lottery process in general, she was the only one who suffered the consequences. In the case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, they both suffered consequences. Jekyll drank a poison to kill Hyde, but ultimately killed himself in the end.

Ultimately, both of these stories display the themes of central gothic irony but it is also missing at the same time. They both display fear and violence with the trampling and the process of the lottery itself. Something that I learned from both stories is that consequences are unavoidable and the way you handle them determines how you move forward.

Midterm Essay

Yarlin Peralta

ENG 3407

October 26, 2020

Midterm Essay

      Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde & The Invisible Man

 In this piece of writing there will be a comparison between two characters of different stories that are considered Gothic. The two characters that will be compared  and contrasted are Dr. Jelly/Mr. Hyde as one character from the story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson and invisible man in the story “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. Lastly, this piece of writing will show how both of the characters are influenced by the spirit of perverseness. 

In the story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, during one of the routinely Sunday walks between Mr. Enfield and the lawyer, they pass a mysterious door when Mr. Enfield tells a story associated with the door. The story is about a man who walk over a girl who he left screaming on the ground but Mr. Enfield went after him and brought him back to where he left the girl to take responsibility for his actions. According to the text, “All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground. It sounds nothing to hear, but it was hellish to see. It wasn’t like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut. This is important because it shows that Mr. Hyde stumbled upon a little girl who he also walked over and then had the audacity to walk away like nothing had happened leaving her lying on the floor. This scene of the story shows Hyde’s temperament/personality and character as a person. He was an angry little man with a short temperament who clearly didn’t care if he hurt others, at the end of the day his actions didn’t really affect him, it affected Jekyll who was his other form. 

 In addition, a scene very similar to this one happens in the story “Invisible Man” when the man was walking during the night and stumble upon a tall, blonde man with blue eyes, who said something inappropriate and disrespectful to a man, maybe to a man of color, and that man decided to beat him up because he was highly offensive to him. As stated in the text, “I accidentally bumped into a man, and perhaps because of the near darkness he saw me and called me an insulting name. I sprang at him, seized his coat lapels and demanded that he apologize. He was a tall blond man, and as my face came close to his he looked insolently out of his blue eyes and cursed me, his breath hot in my face as he struggled. I pulled his chin down sharp upon the crown of my head, butting him as I had seen the West Indians do, and I felt his flesh tear and the blood gush out, and I yelled, “Apologize! Apologize! “But he continued to curse and struggle, and I butted him again and again until he went down heavily, on his knees, profusely bleeding. I kicked him repeatedly, in a frenzy because he still uttered insults though his lips were frothy with blood. Oh yes, I kicked him! And in my outrage I got out my knife and prepared to slit his throat, right there beneath the lamplight in the deserted street, holding him by the collar with one hand, and opening the knife with my teeth — when it occurred to me that the man had not seen me, actually; that he, as far as he knew, was in the midst of a walking nightmare! And I stopped the blade, slicing the air as I pushed him away, letting him fall back to the street”. This scene is relevant because it shows that the invisible man only stops from murdering a man because he figured out that he was invisible, he knew the man was not going to be able to describe him to the authorities and or recognize him, and the reason might be because of his skin color. The invisible man started to attack a man because he didn’t like what the man told him and nearly almost killed him for not apologizing. He was a very angry man but somehow bittersweet about the fact that he was invisible, but for the most part he was kind of okay to be invisible because he was able to benefit from it. 

The difference between the scenes is that Mr. Hyde had to pay  the family of the little girl for the incident, and because it was the right thing to do out of respect of his actions. However, the girl was not badly hurt, but she was very scared. Mr. Hyde was seen by Mr. Enfield while doing such thing, and then he  had to face the family and literally pay for his actions. In the other hand, the invisible man gets very angry at a man for offending him, he tries to slip the man’s throat but then decide not to because he figured out he was invisible therefore, he was not going to pay for such crime. They both walk away without  murdering anyone, for this scene at least, even though the tall blonde guy with blue eyes was badly hurt.    

Moreover, in the story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, every time Hyde does something bad he turns  into Jekyll and hides from the world and his consequences. For example, Mr. Hyde murdered a man and Dr. Jekyll suppressed the side of him that was Hyde in order to hide his guilt/consequences for his actions, the police couldn’t find him because in a way he doesn’t exist.  According to the text, “Yes, she said, this was Mr. Hyde’s, but he was not at home; he had been in that night very late, but had gone away again in less than an hour; there was nothing strange in that; his habits were very irregular, and he was often absent; for instance, it was nearly two months since she had seen him till yesterday…for Mr. Hyde had numbered few familiars — even the master of the servant-maid had only seen him twice; his family could nowhere be traced; he had never been photographed;”. This is important because it shows how Mr. Hyde disappear and people will notice, but they won’t really pay attention to it because he was very inconsistent, as we all know he had to be two different selves at once which was a bit hard to do when your other half was a man like Dr. Jekyll, very well known. Mr. Hyde didn’t have anybody but Jekyll therefore, it was going to be very hard for Mr. Utterson and the police to find him because he was hidden behind Dr. Jekyll, his other half.   

A similar scene happens in the story “Invisible man”,  after the incident with the tall blonde man with blue eyes, invisible man  finds a place in a basement to hide where he  never pays for power and rent the building is also for whites only. As stated in the text, “Now, aware of my invisibility, I live rent-free in a building rented strictly to whites, in a section of the basement that was shut off and forgotten during the nineteenth century, which I discovered when I was trying to escape in the night from Ras the Destroyer… That is why I fight my battle with Monopolated Light & Power. The deeper reason, I mean: It allows me to feel my vital aliveness. I also fight them for taking so much of my money before I learned to protect myself. In my hole in the basement there are exactly 1,369 lights. I’ve wired the entire ceiling, every inch of it. And not with fluorescent bulbs, but with the older, more-expensive-to-operate kind, the filament type. An act of sabotage, you know.”  This is relevant because invisible man finds this place after he figured out he was invisible, he “hides” there but uses a massive amount of light like he wants them (white people?) to notice he is there even though he claims he likes being invisible is the best thing that ever happened to him because he can take advantage.

The difference between Mr. Hyde and invisible man’s situation  is that Mr. Hyde can’t be invisible even if he tried to because he’s both Jekyll and Hyde into one. Mr. Hyde does not have a choice of where he has to hide because at the end of the day he is also Jekyll and if Jekyll were to disappear many people will end up looking for him which was not a good idea since Jekyll was a well known man. The Invisible man was invisible, nobody notices him therefore it is easier for him to hide which explains why he hides in the basement and nobody feels the need to check because at the end of the day they don’t know who he is, he’s invisible after all. Invisible can do anything and nobody will notice but if Mr. Hyde does something Dr. Jekyll will know what he did because they share the same mind.    

Stevenson and Ellison, both show elements in a Gothic literature such as the spirit of perverseness throughout each of the story. According to Edgar Allan Poe, the spirit of perverseness means “…perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart—one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a stupid action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow.” Poe’s description of the spirit of perverseness connects to both, Mr. Hyde and invisible man because throughout the story there’s a point where they both know they shouldn’t make an action, but they do it anyways. Mr. Hyde does bad things without worrying about the consequences because he knows he can just turn into Dr. Jekyll and everything will turn out just okay; he runs away and hide from his bad choices. On the other hand, the invisible man does it for similar reasons, he does it because he figured out he was invisible and now he can do everything he pleases without getting notice including, living rent free and using a huge amount of light power without getting billed.    

 Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde and Invisible man were  both influenced by the spirit of perverseness throughout the stories despite their similarities and differences. Dr. Jekyll’s was Mr. Hyde conscience and that’s the only reason he didn’t do more damage in society. However, at the end of the story Dr. Jekyll didn’t have much control over Mr. Hyde and that’s when things started to get more drastic, Hyde’s actions became more evil as time passed by. Jekyll used to go to bed as Dr. Jekyll and used to wake up as Mr. Hyde because the drugs from the experiment  were making Dr. Jekyll weaker/deadly and Mr. Hyde stronger. Even though the invisible man didn’t have a conscience in another self he was also perverse. The Invisible man was perverse in his own unique way because he was taking his invisibility as an advantage, as an advantage to do things without getting notice. And in a way he kind of had two sides, two different ways to think, he used to think as invisible man and as his intellectual self or like he says “I am in the great American tradition of thinkers”.   

Isaac Frimpong

ENG 3407

Prof. Scanlan


                              THE TWISTED MIND OF MADMEN

      The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. These characteristics are displayed by these 2 characters “Mr. Hyde” from “ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and the Narrator from “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe. Despite their differences in morality and the motive behind their cruel actions, both characters share some similarities when it comes to the spirit of perverseness, and this helps the reader to be able to judge and understand their actions and reasons to why they are so violent and commit extreme cruel acts towards others.

      The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. “ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” took place in Victorian London but to be even more specific the setting was a strange door that was discovered by Mr. Einstein and Mr. Utterson. The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde talks about Dr. Jekyll who is an intelligent scientist, interferes with the dark side of science creating Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll occasionally transforms into Mr. Hyde who does these evil deeds which Dr. Jekyll is totally against. As time goes on Dr. Jekyll gradually loses control over himself to Mr. Hyde and Mr. Hyde continues doing the forbidden towards others. Dr. Jekyll couldn’t live with the guilt of Mr. Hyde’s actions so he ended up taking his own life putting an end to Mr. Hyde and hoping to redeem himself. “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe has a complex setting. The story was written from the narrator’s cell moments before his execution then backtracks to his initial house which later burned down. His house was filled with animals in fact he was portrayed as an animal who loved and treated all pets with care and respect. The narrator who violently mistreats his wife and his black cat Pluto when he gets drunk becomes a threat to everyone in his house. Pluto starts to distance himself from him due to how the narrator tortures him after he drowns himself in alcohol. One day the narrator ends up cutting one of Pluto’s eyes out and hangs it killing Pluto. The narrator later discovers a new cat who was missing an eye too and kept it. His guilt got the best of him when he couldn’t stand the sight of the cat because it reminded him of Pluto and accidentally killing his wife with an axe trying to harm the cat. The body of his wife was discovered when the police vi.

       The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. Both characters  Mr. Hyde from “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ” and the narrator from “ Black Cat” share a similar Spirit of Perverseness. Mr. Hyde kills a respected old man Sir Danvers Carew mercilessly beating him up with a walking stick. The attack was explained in the letter Dr. Jekyll left for Mr. Utterson. In the story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde”by Robert Louis Stevenson Dr. Jekyll states,”And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot, and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway”( Page 37 ). Mr. Hyde shows no remorse for this murder or even shows a slight feeling of guilt, Mrr Hyde allows Dr.Jekyll to do these bad things and Mr. Hyde doesn’t feel guilty but Dr.Jekyll does. Hyde allows him to escape from the guilt because deep down Dr.Jekyll wanted to do these bad things but should we allow Dr. Jekyll to escape with these murders just because he is someone else? Absolutely not. The spirit of perverseness in “The Black Cat” was the narrator harming and torturing Pluto and finally killing him for no reason. The narrator showed no remorse for torturing Pluto every day after he gets drunk until he finally kills it. According to the narrator in “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe,”This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself—to offer violence to its own nature—to do wrong for the wrong’s sake only—that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute.” (Page 39) The narrator clearly didn’t feel any guilt because he drowned himself in alcohol to forget the cruel things he has done then gets back and does worse. Mr. Hyde and the narrator show no remorse and lack empathy which eventually comes back to haunt them. In the “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “ The Black Cat” their style of narration or changes in the focal does not alter the reader or understanding because their cruel actions committed by these two characters shouldn’t be excused or forgiven whether they were under the influence of a substance or possessed. They should be held responsible for their actions

        In “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, the central gothic irony was centered around Death. The narrator kills Pluto, his favorite pet, and then accidentally kills his lovely wife and now he is about to get executed. The wife of the narrator’s innocence is betrayed by the narrator through the oppression of females by violently mistreating her continuously.“I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence.” (Page 4 Paragraph 4)   The narrator’s growing instability starts to make readers anxious about the length he will go to harm his wife and the rest of the animals around him just to feed his dying thirst for violence. The narrator desires normalcy because after murdering Pluto, the narrator later found another cat with the same physical features as  Pluto’s, he thought he could redeem himself with this newfound cat. He saw this opportunity as a second chance to right his wrongs. The scene where the narrator found the new cat falls under Todorovv’s Uncanny term. The cat the narrator found was strange-looking because it mysteriously had a missing eye just like Pluto and looked like Pluto in every physical way except the color of its fur which not all black like Pluto it had white patches.

     The central gothic irony in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ” is finding out that Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll are the same people in one body. Unlike the narrator from “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, Mr. Hyde didn’t need alcohol or anything else to motivate him to violently attack and murder others, it was embedded in him. Mr. Hyde was the evil twin of Dr. Jekyll running around doing bad activities that deep down Dr. Jekyll intended to know the feeling of what it felt to be bad and violent to the society. Dr. Jekylls innocence was betrayed by Mr. Hyde because Mr. Hyde began to take full control of Dr. Jekyll’s body and started to brutally murder people which Dr. Jekyll didn’t approve of. Mr. Hyde was out of control and his thirst for violence painted a bad picture of Dr. Jekyll and made him suspicious toward his peers. Mr. Hyde fights against normalcy and explores the path of violent actions and wrongdoings towards innocent victims. Mr. Hyde has no place in his heart for remorse better yet even thinks of what his actions are doing to Dr. Jekyll personally. The experiment that was done by Dr. Jekyll resulting in the creation of Mr. Hyde, his evil side will be considered Todorov’s definition of Marvelous, that experiment is not possible on earth and the scene was so much more of a fantasy than reality. Mr. Hyde’s actions were very selfish but he was Dr. Jekyll’s mistake so everything he did was Dr. Jekyll’s fault, Dr. Jekyll had blood on his hands because of Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll wanted to redeem himself, he wanted to put an end to his feelings of guilt, and the only for him to that was to commit suicide killing himself and Mr. Hyde.“ God knows; I am careless; this is my true hour of death, and what is to follow concerns other than myself. 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.” (Page 141 ), doing this Mr. Hyde reign of violence came to an end.

            Finally, The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. Mr. Hyde from “ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and the narrator from “The Black Cat” both engaged in the spirit of perverseness. Mr. Hyde killed Sir Danvers Carew for no reason and the narrator tortured and murdered Pluto for no reason. They both lack remorse and lack empathy and it comes back to haunt them.

Midterm Essay

Jessica Goriah

Gothic Literature 3407


The strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde/The Black Cat

Gothic can be found or felt anywhere, whether it’s a book your reading, favorite horror movie or that feeling of fear at night when you think you see a person in your room when really, it’s your clothes on your chair. I mean haven’t we all been there before? Gothic creates a gloomy, suspenseful, fearful, horror, and negative feeling. Gothic is present in the story “The Black Cat”, written by Edgar Allan Poe, is published in 1843. This story is written in the first person and is taken place at home. Gothic is also present in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, it is a novel that is written by Robert Louis Stevenson and published in the year 1886. The narration is in the first person. Although both stories, “The Black cat” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, shared a similarity of self-sabotage, brutality, and redemption, there were some scenes where their actions were different. The characters teach us about gothic limits, violence, death, and a return to normalcy is Mr. Edward Hyde from the novel and the narrator which remain nameless throughout the story. The other two charters that will be mention are Dr. Jekyll and the black cat; they have their own ways of teaching us Gothic limits.   

In “The Black Cat”, the narrator starts off as gratified with his life, he is happily married at a young age, and he is surrounded by animals which he loves, however at some point, the narrator life takes a turn for the worse when he begins to develop a drinking problem known as alcoholism. Spirit of perseverance than comes into play leading the narrator to abuse his most loved ones and leaving the narrator in guilt which lead him to more violence and brutality. In the novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, the main character Dr. Jekyll is a doctor who was a very fortunate man but felt guilty about having a dark side, so he decided to take it upon himself to try and separate the good and evil side, which lead him to create a potion to drink but little did he know he would be giving his bad side a shape and form. He turned into a short ugly looking man who took on the identity of Mr. Edward Hyde and from that point on violence and death followed him.   

According to Poe, the spirit of perseverance is what causes people to do things that they know is wrong and can be deleterious to others including himself. Spirit of perseverance is token place in both stories, particularly the narrator and Mr. Hyde. In “The Black Cat”, due to the narrator disease, alcoholism, the narrator abuses his animals especially the black cat Pluto, who was the closest to his heart. One night the narrator gets frustrated with Pluto and ends up digging his eye out, but that was not enough “to do wrong for wrong’s sake” (6) made him to continue to do wrong and eventually he “slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree;” (6). By hurting Pluto and other animals, he hurts a part of himself. In “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, Mr. Hyde accidentally bumps into a young girl, but the worst part is when he “trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground” (1).  He had full knowledge that what he did was wrong, and he hope to get away with such brutality.   

While reading both stories the emotions that are felt through Mr. Hyde and the narrator are dark and has a sense of negative energy. Both characters carry a sense of hate and anger with and they tend to take their anger and hate out on others. In “The Black Cat”, the narrator He keeps having an urge to hurt this cat like it’s the problem, but the truth is, the narrator is the problem. The black cat symbolizes the narrator’s guilt, darkness, evilness, violence, and aggression. This symbol affects the understanding of the overall meaning of the story because the narrator sees his reflection in the cat. Because Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll suppressed dark side; it’s clear to say that Jekyll does not like him because he has only evil intentions however, Hyde dislikes Jekyll because he suppressed him his entire life and threatened to get rid of him once and for all by committing suicide has Jekyll. Hyde represent Dr. Jekyll evil side there is no inch of good in him.  

Redemption is the action of saving or to be saved from sin and sometime redemption can be selfish, in both stories’ sins were committed. Dr. Jekyll does the redeeming, in the end Jekyll has had enough and is fluster with guilt, he writes a letter telling his side of the story and then commits suicide by drinking poison and killing both Hyde and him. He is redeemed by being stuck in Hyde form forever and dying as Mr. Hyde as he will be prosecuted by the law. In “The Black Cat”, rather than the narrator doing the redeeming the cat does the redemption. At the end, when the narrator kills his wife and buries her in the wall in the cellar, he doesn’t notice when the cat sneaks in the cellar with the wife. when the cops come looking for the missing wife, they hear the cat inside the basement. By doing this they find the wife, cat, at puts the narrator away in jail.      

Another similarity between Mr. Hyde and the narrator is that they both ended up self-sabotaging themselves. Although Jekyll gave his evil side a form, Hyde unknowingly caused his own demise by going on this self-centered path to evil. Hyde committed cold-blooded murder on Sir Danvers Carew, hurt a friend, including trampling over a girl, tried to take over Jekyll and his life. Both stories share a similar path, almost as a splitting image to the narrator in “The Black Cat”, who killed his wife along with the cat. Both result in their selfish motive of evil. Unconsciously to the fact that justice would prevail in both stories, Jekyll ends up killing hide and the narrator getting arrested. In both stories, they show ignorance of their actions that led to their own death or punishment. In both stories Self-sabotage lead to a return to normalcy. In “The black cat” the central gothic irony is when the narrator tries to act like he didn’t commit any crimes or cruelty. When he abused the cat and soon resulted in killing the cat, he continued with his day and act like none of it happened. When he killed his wife, he covered up the murder and carried on with his day and said, “I soundly and tranquilly slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder on my soul” (13). In “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” the central gothic irony would be when Hyde killed Sir Danvers Carew and went into hiding leaving Jekyll alone for a while. When Hyde left, Jekyll returned into his old self he “came out of his seclusion, renewed relations with his friends, became once more their familiar guest and entertainer;” (6). Mr. Jekyll acted like nothing happened as if Mr. Hyde was not a part of him. Sooner or later he started transforming into Hyde again and went back into isolation. Dr. Jekyll at this point desire his old normal life back.     

Although both stories have similarities there are some differences that help to organize and limit the gothic in each story. Todorov defines gothic literature as transgression boundaries so to have a better understanding of the story it is important to distinguish the difference between the natural and supernatural world. Todorov used three terms, uncanny, fantastic, and marvelous. In the story “The Black Cat” it would be considered uncanny which means it is the closest to reality, where it is possible for a man to have an alcohol problem than leading to violence. In “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” it is considered marvelous which means it is not possible it to happen on earth. The scene that made me think that this is not possible is in Dr. Lanyon narrative when his Hyde drinks a potion and turn “pale and shaken, and half-fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death — there stood Henry Jekyll!” (chapter 9). It isn’t possible for a man to drink a mixture of substance and transform into their evil side. Another difference that each story had that also help shaped the stories was the theme.  In “The black cat”, the theme was justice, after all the crimes that he committed, in the end of it all justice is served which is how he starts the story, by saying “Yet, mad am I not—and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul” (1). In “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” the theme is human nature, where man makes his own decisions and that would tell you the kind of person he is. Mr. Jekyll was a social man who help others and donate money to charity which made him a good man. Mr. Hyde would hurt and kill others which made him a bad man.   

In both stories, there were some differences and similarities that help shape the gothic in each of them. There is no doubt that Mr. Hyde and the narrator both committed violence, cruelty, and murder, however without these characters playing the bad guy it wouldn’t be gothic and you wouldn’t have seen the hidden message which is also known as allegory. The moral of “The Black Cat”, is that you cannot hide the damage you caused and the sins you have committed. Everything will be brought to light and justice will be served. The narrator not only got caught but the guilt he carried with him was eating away at his subconscious. The moral of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, is that we all have a good and bad side, the important thing is to never let our bad side take us over, or else we would self-sabotage ourselves.    

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