The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde And Guy De Maupassant 's The Necklace

1219 WordsApr 24, 20175 Pages
One of the most powerful assets employed in any genre of literature, transformation serves as one of the most important devices in uncovering the underlying significance of a story. Although transformation is a frequently used element, its versatile function creates a unique point of inquiry for each different story. In the case of both Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” transformation centers the story providing unique insight into nineteenth century class relationships and fears of social degradation and degeneration. Through the employment of vivid imagery and detailed physical contrasts, each story explores a distinctive transformation in an effort to capture…show more content…
While both Utterson and Jekyll are honorable and respectable gentlemen belonging to the sophisticated upper class, Hyde, in contrast, is associated with the working class and the poor as is attributed with an uncivilized disposition. A character who is “not easy to describe,” Hyde is characterized as having “something wrong with his appearance,” noting several malformations such as his “pale and dwarfish” stature (Stevenson, 37). As a figure who is “hardly human,” Hyde represents the degenerated form of Jekyll and his lower-class status emphasizes his supposed susceptibility to inhumane behaviors (Stevenson, 43). As the working class was seen as more primitive, the concern of the vulnerability of this class caused many to fear the poor were more prone to violent impulses. Hyde’s place in the working class replicates these fears because as Jekyll becomes Hyde, he not only degrades in physical appearance and moral standards, but he degrades in social class. Through this, Stevenson directly connects fears of degeneration to the lower class and calls into consideration the role of class relationships beyond the context of the story. By raising these concerns, Stevenson arguably criticizes the role of class in devolutionary theory as being influenced by perceptions of class. In other words, through connecting these physical

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