The Literature of the Victorian Period

The literature of the Victorian period is the synonymy of oppositions. Some of the oppositions introduced by this period are to be considered “vital” as they deal with the major human values. The list of the works known to be the best representations of the Victorian world outlook is very long; nevertheless some works are to be highlighted. Opposition is the core of Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

Its outstanding resolution and the struggle of two forces has become the embodiment of duality. Another works to mention is Mrs. Gaskell’s “North and South”. Being based on a contradiction the book’s characters fight within the whole book in order to achieve the balance between the opposing sides. These two works do not speak only about the duality of the material world but of the spiritual world, too, which sometimes gives the impression of their insolubility. Both of the books deal with reconciling these oppositions, and their reconcile turn out to have a lot of common aspects.

Being so different from each other, they therefore become a lot alike, for the message they are carrying is quite the same: a difference of a person from standard society representatives causes this person incredible sufferings. Both of the books are the fight of individuality against the society and the norms that it obtrudes but nevertheless there is something more to both of them… The opposition between the desire to be different and the necessity to be like everybody create a perfect base for the struggle both in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “North and South”. North and South” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” comparison Essay Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is a creation of the opposition of two spiritual essences. Basically, it goes about the “mutation” that Dr. Jekyll’s personality goes through. Through the story of Dr. Jekyll the author talks about the “unrevealed” side of the society.

The analysis of the deep context of the book brings the reader to the understanding that Dr. Jekyll’s duplicity is nothing but the personification of social issues. Everybody sees Dr. Jekyll as a fine scientist, a rich, respected man. He understands the impossibility to reveal his terrifying and horrible second personality. Society would not have approved Mr. Hyde, nobody would have loved him. Still, Mr. Hyde is a part of Dr. Jekyll. And that is the real tragedy. Dr. Jekyll’s attempts to control his “personality conditions” with a special drug is an attempt to reconcile these two oppositions that live inside of him. “Gentlemen like me have to be very careful of what we do or say”, says Dr. Jekyll and indeed he is right. The story of Dr. Jekyll is the story of an unsuccessful attempt to neutralize the opposing sides, as Dr. Jekyll dies. The novel also reveals that the upper society classes do also have “dark sides” and are not “socially perfect” as it was put in the period of the book creation. No matter what a person is in his life he still remains a simple human, no matter what a person seems to be – he will still have two sides of a personality, if he cannot be what he really is: good or bad. The society does not allow it and it produces a struggle! “North and South” Gaskell’s “North and South” has a lot to do with oppositions, too.

The main heroine Margaret Hale has a pattern of everyday life that she has had while living in Helstone in the south of England. This is s story of the contradictions that the girl faces as she moves from agrarian Helstone to industrialized Milton. This is the contradiction between the life that she has known in the South and the life she faces in the North. This is also a fight of the values, which differ in two different parts of the country. The equality of the South converts into the absence of rights in the North. The book also opposes two different feelings of the heroine.

Belonging to the class of workers she is against their poverty and the way they are treated at the mill, at the same time she is in love with the owner of the mill. This converts into the confrontation of two different social classes. The insolubility of all these oppositions makes the heroine want to come back to the old ways in Helstone. But when she does… She realizes that everything changes and that her way of life is not the only possible and perfect one. She reconciles the oppositions with the awareness of achieving the balance through having the ability to help the “poor” people, even now belonging to the upper class.

The reader also faces the opposition of the upper class cruelty and the understanding that there people inside the class that do want to be equitable. The nature of tensions of the books It is not surprising to see that both of the book have common aspects and the primary aspects of course the social one. The both deal with the basic Victorian “discoveries”. Stevenson’s: One person, being a solid creature may still have two different parts, two opposite identities, that struggle for obtaining power over the person.

It is the opposition of what a person seems to be, fulfilling the social norms and what he is in reality. Gaskell’s: One country, being a solid territory may still have two different and even opposite ways of life, depending on the part of the country. The “North and South” also symbolizes the opposition of two different classes, belonging to these two opposing ways of life – the agrarian and the industrial one. Both of the books are definitely a part of the same society. It is a society in its attempt to reconcile from the oppositions that are tearing it apart, destroying its essence.

These Victorian works are the product of the society understanding the weakness of its social aspects: class differences, social norms, and its desire to put everything in abutments, which are “sociable” or in other words acceptable for observing. The society opposes itself in both of the books. Both of the books are calls for achieving balance and harmony; Victorian calls for changing the perception of the world.


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