The Essay Questions

Clix, over at Epic Adventures are Often Uncomfortable, left me this comment:

So what were the essay prompts?

Here, for your information, are the five essay questions I gave to my (now six) students (one of them dropped me like a hot potato. I’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out why…):

1. Discuss the physical descriptions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and their respective homes (Jekyll’s main house vs. Hyde’s neglected laboratory cabinet) as they relate to major themes of the novel. Recognize that, in order to answer this question adequately, you must have a clear understanding of the themes of the novel.

2. Discuss the concept of control in regard to Jekyll’s relationship with Hyde. Is absolute control possible? Can one choose when to be completely good or evil? What does Stevenson’s conclusion appear to be?

3. How does the notion of loyalty contribute to the novel? Discuss this in reference to Utterson, Lanyon, and Dr. Jekyll. Upon close examination, does loyalty help prevent or expedite violence and tragedy? You may also want to consider the idea of “keeping up appearances” and the importance placed on reputation in the novel as you consider your answer to this question.

4. Compare and contrast the ways in which Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Lanyon represent different attitudes toward scientific ethics and, perhaps, toward the nature of evil itself.

5. Although we hear directly from several characters —Enfield, Lanyon, and Dr. Jekyll himself—Mr. Utterson might be considered the central figure of the novel. Why? What characteristics of his personality and circumstances give precedence to his point of view?

I’m churning an answer to question number 4 – I’ve reread the story and have been composing bits of the essay in my head since Thursday night. I’ll have it finished before the due date on Wednesday; in fact, it’ll likely be my Tuesday post. Watch this space…



Filed under colleagues, great writing, Literature, Questions, reading, self-analysis, Teaching, The Job, writing

3 responses to “The Essay Questions

  1. awww, you’re making me miss my days as a student!

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