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Themes

Appearances figure in the novel both figuratively and literally. Dr. Jekyll definitely wants to keep up a well-respected façade, even though he has a lot of unsavory tendencies. In a literal sense, the appearances of buildings in the novel reflect the character of the building’s inhabitants. Dr. Jekyll has a comfortable and well-appointed house, but Mr. Hyde spends most of his time in the "dingy windowless structure" of the doctor’s laboratory. Other disreputable quarters of London are described as well, the stomping ground of Mr. Hyde.

Questions About Appearances

  1. What is the relationship between physical buildings and the events that take place in or near them?
  2. Why is Dr. Jekyll so concerned with keeping up appearances? And what appearance is he trying to keep?
  3. Where in the novel do events seem to point in a particular direction when the opposite is in fact true?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Because he feels intense shame at his frowned-upon desires, Dr. Jekyll does everything he can to maintain a façade of respectability.

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