Is he Evil?

Again, it is difficult to define what is good and what is evil. So for the purpose of this assignment, evil will be defined as cruelty towards others in any way. Cruelty includes killing and/or harming others in any way (physically, psychologically, or emotionally). Evil will also include having cruel thoughts and desires – not just physically acting evil.

While we are told that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, for the purpose of this blog post, are to be considered two separate people, I think Mr. Hyde is a very important factor to consider when analyzing Dr. Jekyll. After all, Dr. Jekyll separated his desires when Mr. Hyde was created – he did initally have Mr. Hyde’s thoughts, right?

Dr. Jekyll is a good man with suppressed evil prior to his experiment. During Dr. Jekyll’s confession letter on page 64, he states that his evil had been so long caged that he wanted to use Mr. Hyde as an outlet for this suppressed evil to be set free. I believe we can all agree that after the experiment, Mr. Hyde was all evil and Dr. Jekyll was a conscientious man who did good things. But for a person to have so much built up evil that he was able to create a monster like Mr. Hyde just by extracting his own suppressed evil, I believe that is evidence that Dr. Jekyll was an evil man.

I suppose you could argue that since Dr. Jekyll never acted on the evil but Mr. Hyde did, Dr. Jekyll himself was not evil. But consider this: if my husband thought about or planned out how he would kill be, but never acted on it, would he be evil? If you are what you think when no one is around (which I believe you are), then my husband would most certainly be evil.

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Reflections.

On page 202, the narrator states, “Worse than cancer. The mirror is gone.”

At this point in the novel, all of the narrator’s belongings – the ones that he still had left – are gone. All of his shirts, pants, the picture of the 10-minutes-of-fame “cancer” birthmark on the narrator’s foot, and even the mirror have been striped from his room.

In my opinion, the narrator makes this comment in order to say, “This is terrible; even worse than actually having cancer! Literally everything I had left is gone – including the mirror!” I believe the narrator points out that the mirror is gone simply to point  out that all of his belongings are truly gone and he seriously has nothing left. It’s almost like he’s processing shock and pointing out the obvious as a way to cope.

However, I think the author (Chuck Palahniuk) points this out to allude to what will soon happen.

“If you want to make a human being a monster, deny them […] any reflection of themselves.” I think our class quote is interesting to consider with this part of Fight Club. Palahniuk is denying the narrator of the mirror (his physical reflection) in order to let the monster inside, Tyler, become dominant and demolish the narrator’s limits.

By removing the mirror, Tyler becomes the only reflection of the narrator left. This, to me, hints that there will be a battle between the narrator and Tyler – the narrator will finally fight that battle within himself. And the he will of course win.

Monsters in Fight Club

In Chuck Palahniuk’s novel “Fight Club”, Palahniuk does a great job of creating monsters inside of people. In my opinion, everyone is monstrous or has something monstrous within them. To me, monstrous is described as a negative attribute that either harms you or someone around you. Each and every character in the novel has a monster whether it’s Bob’s cancer monster that is slowly taking his masculinity (and life) away from him, Marla’s inner monster that gives her ideas to steal or harm herself, the narrator’s inner monster who has taken over his once good conscience to create an evil one, or Tyler (whom I believe simply is a monster).

While I do not believe there are different definitions of monstrous, I do believe there are different levels. For example, Bob’s cancer is evil and it is causing him severe pain and suffering. However, the cancer is not intending to kill Bob or even harm him – cancer cannot consciously choose it’s victims, it just does. This is not as monsterous as Marla stealing jeans from dryers and a laundry mat and then selling them. Sure it’s wrong, but it is not as wrong as Tyler and the Narrator sabotaging customer’s food at restruaunts.

“Fight Club” is brilliant in that it has very distinct characters that truly resemble actual human beings. With that said, I do not believe we can categorize the characters accurately – especially since they are constantly changing. However, you can use your best judgement as I have.

In regards to the 3 main characters by the end of chapter 14, Tyler is the most monsterous, then the Narrator, and then Marla is the least monsterous. This is based on how “bad” I find their decisions to be, their intentions, and how severely the people around them are affected.

The Final Problem: Does the Villain deserve my Sympathy?

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short story “The Final Problem”, Sherlock Holmes was willing to end his life to rid the world of Professor Moriarty. This action supports the theory that since Holmes is willing to end his life, this villain must truly be bad and not worth the reader’s sympathy.

The reader is generally intended to be on the side of the main characters and to support and trust their better judgment as that is typically the only side of the story the reader is exposed to. While Sherlock defines Professor Moriarty as being “the Napoleon of crime”, Professor Moriarty could just be a man trying to do the best he knows how for his family. The reader will never learn of both sides of the story.

The narrator is sure to note that Professor Moriarty was a fine man; he had an excellent career, came from a good family, and had a wonderful higher education. Perhaps he is worth the reader’s sympathy – he was, after all, a well-respected and successful man. Yet Professor Moriarty was so immoral that the emotionless Sherlock Holmes foreshadows that if he “could beat that man”, Holmes would feel as if his “own career had reached its summit”.

I haven’t read enough Sherlock Holmes short stories to decide whether or not Holmes is a trustworthy source of defining a true villain as he is no perfect angel himself. However, I do agree with Holmes in that Professor Moriarty’s actions were villainous.