To: Jennifer McCollum From: Vishal Gautam Date: January 25, 2010 Subject: Essay One Proposal: The suppression of truth and silence: How they contribute into forming of the feral body Overview This essay will be based around the novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson. He was an author from the Victorian period and this aspect can be seen very clearly in the novel as well. The Victorian period was known for its secrets and underground activities. The society and culture at that period of time was not as open as the current one and this is evident when it comes to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The essay will look to address how silence and suppression of reality are used in the novel in order to outline the major conflicts present in the story through using multiple examples from various parts of the novels. The Problem In Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there are many evident themes and one such theme is the concealment and hiding of truth. The lack of openness and the lack of action in the story lead to forming of the feral body, represented as Mr. Hyde in this novel. Throughout the novel at different parts it is noted that the characters seem to avoid the necessary but socially awkward conversations, which in many cases has the potential to eliminate the misunderstandings that form the core of the suspense and conflict of the story. Had the characters, in particular Utterson and Lanyon discussed between them their suspicions concerning Jekyll and Hyde, it may have lead to the discovering of Jekyll?s secret and saved the lives of Lanyon, Carew and Jekyll. Despite this potential Stevenson chooses to use Utterson, a lawyer by profession as a character with internal duality, to take the law upon himself and reveal the secrets all by himself, leading to the deaths of Lanyon and Jekyll and formation of Mr. Hyde, the feral body in the novel. Context In order to correctly support my claims I will be using the novel as the main source. By taking passages where the characters in the novel shy away from the truth, I will use character and passage analysis in order to make an attempt to form claims and counterclaims based around the examples from the novel. In order to further support my claims I will be using Julia Kristeva and her description of an abject in order to show how the suppression of reality has lead to the creation of the feral body. Approach A thorough approach would require me to research what sort of underground activities occurred during the Victorian period. Since this would be a representation of what activities took place because of the duality of personality present in the society, I would like to keep the essay narrow and focused as to how the problem present leads to the forming of Hyde. However it can be argued that the underground activities present during the Victorian era showed the feral part of each individual. Thus the use of examples from the novel (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and Julia Kristeva?s piece on abject. Importance On a personal level, I believe that in many cases misunderstandings have occurred because of a lack of action by some individuals that would reveal the whole and complete truth to related parties. Thus although the novel is a sort of hyperbole of this problem, it is very much alive in the modern era as it seems to be in the Victorian era. A very simple solution would require everyone to take up responsibility and make sure to eliminate any misunderstandings and potentially disastrous secrets in order maintain peace and order among all of society.
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