The Darkness Within

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a very gloomy one.  Dr. Lanyon, Dr.Jekyl, and Mr. Utterson were best friends for many years. When Dr. Lanyon sees Dr. Jekyl transform into Mr.Hyde, he decides never to be friends with him again. This scene represents the fact that people can ignore someone’s bad side, and once they see it, nothing can be done to make them forget it. Everyone has a bad side, Dr. Jekyll just found a way to isolate himself. When humans love someone they tend to be blind towards all the bad aspects of them. This is the reason for toxic relationships of any form. Love makes you blind. This side of Dr. Jekyll was there the whole time, however, he just hid it better. In Dr. Jekyll’s letter to Mr. Utterson, he said, “If  I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also. I could not think that this earth contained. a place for sufferings and terrors so unmanning;” (23 Stevenson) Sometimes humans even become blind to their own bad side. People want to think of themselves as good people. Generally speaking, most people try to be good people. However, often times when humans are faced with a moral dilemma they make a more selfish choice. In conclusion, when people see that they or someone else has a darker side, they will forever think of that person differently.

Mother Lucy

For most of human history, women were expected to be stay-at-home mothers, and their job was to care for the children they were expected to have. Lucy represents the dangers of stepping outside the box of what women are expected. This is because she is a femme fatale. She has too much power over men and that is why she is killed while Mina is saved. When Lucy becomes a vampire, she always goes for children. Johnathan does not believe she could ever hurt anyone because of the dangerous effect the book is showing Lucy having over him. Van Helsin talked to Seward about it when he said, “ ‘You think then that those small holes in the children’s throats were made by the same that made the hole in Miss Lucy?’ ‘I suppose so’ … ‘then you are wrong’… He threw himself with a despairing gesture into a chair and placed his elbows on the table, covering his face with hands as he spoke: ‘ They were made by Miss Lucy!’ ” (206 Stoker) Lucy being a femme fatal already goes against the number one prospect women should not have, this being power over men. To continue on with this theme her chosen victims are children. Since it was a woman’s job to care for children, and she represented what women should not be, her chosen victims were the people women were allowed to have power over. This part goes along with the rampant idea in the Victorian age in relation to eugenics that if you give someone an inch they’re going to go a mile. She already has the worst characteristic that it was believed women could have at the time, so therefore, it was necessary to also take away the only good characteristics women could have. Due to the fact that Lucy is a femme fatale, she is seen as a very sexual being. At this time women being seen as sexual was immediately blamed on her and not the men believing this. Even though in almost every aspect of life she is the perfect lady, due to her being a femme fatale, she needs to be used as an example of what women should never be. She had too much power, and needed to lose control over everything, which means death including what women were typically allowed to have control over.

The Traumatized Not-Idiot

In Dracula, all the main characters have money, however, the maids do not, and because of this, they are portrayed as thoughtless idiots, whose trauma gets ignored. In the crazy deadly night from chapter eleven, the maids get poisoned. Dr. Seward goes to wake them, and this is how he describes the encounter. “I was stern with them, however, and would not let them talk. I told them one life was bad enough to lose, and that if they delayed they would sacrifice Miss Lucy.” (158 Stoker) These maids were the only fully alive people in the house last night. This means they know a lot more information than the two men who just walked in.  However, because they are third-class citizens, they are believed to be useless. These two men think simply because they are rich and men, that they are the only ones who can figure out what happened. At this time they do not know about the letter hidden in Lucy’s chest, therefore, they do not listen to the maids because they are female maids and not because they have other information. It is also clear in the way Dr. Seward speaks to them how low he thinks of them. He speaks to them as though they are children. It is blatantly obvious how bad it is to lose a life. These maids are very aware of this fact. Not only is this statement belittling their intelligence, but it is also belittling their trauma. These maids just saw their boss die, and then got poisoned. While yes, Lucy and her mom had it worse, but, if these people were not maids, and were instead Lucy’s friend, or someone of the upper class, Dr. Seward would be much more mindful of their feelings. If you and all your coworkers were to get drugged, then you would need at least a minute to process what just happened. After this statement, he goes on to say, ” So, sobbing and crying, they went about their way, half-clad”.  (158 Stoker) Dr. Seward does not even give a second thought to the fact that they are rightfully very upset. To make matters worse, they are not even fully dressed. At this time not being fully dressed around anyone outside of your family was extremely shameful, especially men. However, he did not even give a second thought to their feelings.  

The Immortality of Mortals

“Of all the wonderful faculties that help to tell us we are immortal, which speaks the sublime truth more eloquently than memory”

The beauty of memory is much like the beauty of art. It captures a moment in time and allows one to feel emotions that they would not have already. This short story is a story within a story. What is actually happening is an artist painting someone and having him talk to get more natural expressions. There are pieces of artwork in museums that were made thousands of years ago. There are stories passed down from generation to generation spanning hundreds of generations. The lure of this is that these art forms immortalize the subject. The art forms of storytelling and painting are one and the same. They both have alike effects. A painting is an image of a memory, and the words coming out of this man’s mouth are the retelling of a memory. They both teleport people into a world they would have before been unknown to. This embedded narrative is a comment on the beauty of human storytelling. Storytelling is what connects humans throughout the world, in all of its cultures and allurements. The fact that this traveler is a sailor and is getting this painting done to give to his mother because she has not seen him in a long time and wants her to have something that reminds her of him is further proof of the connections these art forms give. This sailor’s immortality will live on through the artist, and then the artist will pass the story on, and the mother will pass the painting on. The loveliness and horrificness of immortality is the fact we never know what ours will be, by the time it comes, we have left. Memory is one way we can control our immortality. We are the tellers of our own stories. For all the artist knew, this man could have made the whole account up, however, this story is how the artist will remember the traveler. We just read that story and that’s how we will remember the character that is the traveler. Human immortality is an angelic gift, and whatever one we may have, however long it may last, is a blessing of humanity.

The Grip of Grief

” ‘with that she walked off as graceful as you please.’ Who was it that walked off? and what was the story which the locksmith was telling when I interrupted him at that sentence? Oh, George Talboys, George Talboys, am I ever to come any nearer to the secret of your fate? Am I coming nearer to it now, slowly but surely? Is the radius to grow narrower day by day, until it draws a dark circle round the home of those I love?” (Braddon 153)

It is no secret Lady Audley is hiding something. Since her entrance at the beginning of the novel, it has been pretty clear, that she is not who she says she is. Robert Audley is the only one close to her who has begun to doubt her. When Mr. Audley says, “Who was it that walks off” he is clearly indicating that he knows she is not who she says she is.  However, Mr. Audley’s detective abilities do not go much further than that. No matter how suspicious the circumstances are, he can not get any definite proof of Lady Audley as both Georges’s ex-wife and the woman who killed him. Mr. Audley suspects foul play almost immediately after George’s disappearance but he can not seem to get very far in the investigation. He is dealing with an immense amount of grief. Grief is a hard enough emotion for anyone to deal with, but then add the element of foul play being involved, and having to find out who did it will inevitably take a toll on a person mentally. Mr. Audley is described as a very calm and collected person periodically, who does not show much emotion outwardly. His emotions show up in much more subtle ways. In this case, his most prominent emotion is grief. This shows up in his utter desperation to find George. He hyper-fixates on finding out who did it and nothing else for months. He is fueled by grief and the yearning for revenge, however, the grief is also preventing him from thinking logically. Most people who were given much less evidence would immediately know that the Locksmith was lying. Emotions often cloud our vision to the obvious. Mr. Audley’s grief is both what is keeping him going in the investigation, as well as what is holding him back.