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Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


by Robert Louis Stevenson

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Theme of Appearances

Appearances figure in the novel both figuratively and literally. Dr. Jekyll definitely wants to keep up a façade of respectability, even though he has a lot of unsavory tendencies. In a literal sense, the appearances of buildings in the novel reflect the characters of the 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; this is 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

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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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