A New Monster In Town
In Robert Louis Stevenson’s nineteenth century novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Hyde has all of the characteristics of being a monster. What makes a monster? According to the free dictionary dot com, a monster is a person of unnatural ugliness, deformity, wickedness or cruelness. Mr. Hyde is a wicked looking man and has the character to match his appearance. Originally created by Jekyll, Hyde leaves a path of devastation wherever he goes. “Monster Culture” is an article written by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. In his article, he writes that monsters provide an understanding of the culture in which they were created. Mr. Hyde is similar to the monsters that Cohen refers to in his article. Mr. Hyde is a monster because he is difficult to classify, is different and lacks human characteristics and because he has no regard for the law or moral codes of society. These characteristics and his physical strength show that Mr. Hyde is a monster of the worst kind.
Everyone who observes Mr. Hyde has a very difficult time at putting him into a category. In Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Enfield states: “It wasn’t like a man; it was like some damned juggernaut” (Stevenson 40). This quote demonstrates Enfield struggling to find the words to describe Hyde. Ultimately he settles on calling Hyde a juggernaut. To put it bluntly, a juggernaut is an overwhelming force that crushes everything in its path. This term makes Hyde seem uncontrollable and vicious. The inability of Enfield to describe Hyde shows that he is very difficult to classify. In “Monster Culture” Cohen himself writes: “This refusal to participate in the classificatory ‘order of things’ is true of monsters generally: they are disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration” (Cohen 6). What Cohen really means by this is that monsters are beyond the norm in both appearance and behavior. Furthermore, monsters have traits that are very unfamiliar to the natural order of things. Because of this, monsters are impossible to categorize.
Enfield’s unsuccessful attempt at classifying Hyde surfaces again: “He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something down-right detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point” (Stevenson 43). To put it another way, Enfield senses that there is something very wrong with Hyde. He makes it clear that he is repulsed by Hyde and again struggles at putting him into a category. Perhaps, Mr. Enfield is able to see into the soul of Mr. Hyde. Whatever the reason, people sense that Hyde is capable of doing terrible things. Cohen asserts: “In the face of the monster, scientific inquiry and its ordered rationality crumble. The monstrous is a genus too large to be encapsulated in any conceptual system; the monster’s very existence is a...