Discussion Forums - Classic Literature

Topic: Challenge Category - Horror or Scary Story

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Date Posted: 6/30/2010 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,321
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Finished Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson:  The introduction to this book by Vladimir Nabokov gives much insight into the times in which the story is set and the story itself. In some ways the tale mirrors the author's life (read the book to discover why). The key protagonist is Dr. Henry Jekyll who has spent much of his life with fruitless research. Dr. Jekyll is experimenting with drugs to separate admirable and evil characteristics each person has within himself. Surprisingly, he finds a drug mixture that does what he expects and he can become Mr. Hyde, a self-centered, pleasure-seeking, unlikeable and fearsome individual. As Mr. Hyde, he can revel in the baser pleasures that dwell in his heart. Eventually Mr. Hyde murders a much respected person in the community and the authorities search everywhere for the illusive killer. A part of Henry Jekyll abhors the murder and he is torn about what to do. Unfortunately, his supply of the basic drug he needs for his mixture is dwindling and he cannot find another. Furthermore, the baser personality is becoming dominant. He finds himself changing into Mr. Hyde without the drug mixture. Not only is his personality changing but his physical appearance is greatly altered. The tale is told by a friend of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Utterson, a lawyer who wrote Jekyll's puzzling will. The story is one you should read if you are interested in classical tales.  In this edition, the introduction is 34 pages in length but well worth reading.  The tale itself is short.

Subject: Shirley Jackson: a gifted author
Date Posted: 7/7/2010 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Deb B, The Haunting of Hill House was a brilliant book. It's an intense study of a troubled woman who has never felt cared for, who never belonged. When she gets to Hill House, something in her responds in a positive way. Over the years, I have read this book about 50 times. The writing is inspired!

(I also loved the b&w movie from the 60s, which starred two of my favorites, Julie Harris and Claire Bloom.)


Date Posted: 8/7/2010 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Just finished Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. I didn't really get it and I didn't really like it. I thought the characters were uninteresting, the dialogue often ridiculous, and the plot, well, so-so.  To be fair, I am not a fan of this genre -- so others might appreciate this allegedly classic haunted house story but I did not.



No, it's not just you not liking the genre. I am a fan of Jackson and I am a gothic/horror fan and Hill House was just lame for all the reasons you listed. We have Always Lived in the Castle (I think that's the name) is equally disappointing. 

Date Posted: 8/9/2010 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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But H.P. Lovecraft! Now there's a fella who knew creepy.