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Essay: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / Coraline (good or bad characteristics)

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  • Published: 18 June 2021*
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  • Words: 1,113 (approx)
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  • Tags: Jekyll and Hyde essays

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Evidently, by living and interacting with one person you could see and absorb their good or bad characteristics as a valuable lesson. In the story Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Coraline goes into the other mother’s world (Beldam); the other mother who doesn’t have her own identity but who has the ambition to confine and possess the children she tempts into her world to gradually steal their souls. Fortunately, the other mother is also the key to helping Coraline discover how to go back to her life by teaching Coraline recognize the type of love that ends up sabotaging people of Beldam. The story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson shows the same points (identities and freedom) as Coraline but instead of two sides of the world, it shows Jekyll himself divided into two persons and struggling to define himself as a good or bad person. Utterson, a close friend of Dr. Jekyll, witnesses and tries to aid Jekyll to go back to his normal self. However, instead of successfully recognizing the way to go back to his normal life like Coraline, Dr. Jekyll fails to achieve that and pays the highest price: his life.
In the story Coraline, the other mother creates a world where everything seems absolutely perfect and enjoyable to Coraline. However, the “love” of the other mother, unlike Coraline’s real mother, the ” love Coralines as a miser loves money, or a dragon love its gold” kind of love is the signal for Coraline to realized that the other mother is not a human being and to start to fight against her (Gaiman,104). As we can see in the battle between Coraline and the other mother, we inevitably encounter the real Beldam, a form of evil, “the other mother was huge-her head almost brushed the ceiling-and very pale, the color of a spider’s belly” (page, 126). And the fact that Coraline doesn’t get into Beldam’s manipulative trap demonstrates to us the growth of Coraline through the story and how smart she is.
Moreover, Coraline attempts to find her way back to the real world when she realizes that the other mother is a liar and does not really love her: “Whatever would I have done with your old parents? If they left you, Coraline, it must be because they became bored with you or tired. Now, I will never become bored with you, and I will never abandon you.” (Gaiman, 60). When Beldam makes such a statement, it is like a double-edged sword for Beldam herself. Instead of believing in Beldam’s statement that Coraline’s parents feel bored and tired of her, Coraline rejects and fights back with Beldam, she said: “they weren’t bored of me,” and “You’re lying. You stole them” (Gaiman, 60). The other mother masks her true intent of manipulation and control behind her fake love and dedication to Coraline. But if that is the way to get a child’s love, she is absolutely wrong. Manipulation and maltreatment will never achieve honorable love. This is the catalyst for Coraline to find her way back and also the valuable lesson for the other mother.
In addition, what the three ghosts reveal about the other mother prompts Coraline to stand up and save her parents and set those ghosts free. “She will take your life and all you are and all you care’st for, and she will leave you with nothing but mist and fog. She’ll take your joy. And one day you’ll awake and your heart and your soul will be gone” (Gaiman, 84) As we can see, the power of evil pretty much contains the other mother, which is shown by her name, “Beldam”. That makes Coraline scared at the beginning; however, Coraline becomes stronger and wins over the evil to get back to her normal life.
In the story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the main setting of the mysterious events is the laboratory where Utterson goes to investigate and witnesses a shocking action about his friend Dr. Jekyll and his relation Mr. Hyde. Utterson seems like a dreary character “never lighted by a smile, cold.….” (Stevenson, 5) However, he plays a crucial role; he seeks out all the events of the stories to help Jekyll get back to his original self. He is the one who sees Mr. Hyde as an immoral and evil person and is really afraid for Dr. Jekyll’s well-being. He tries to convince Dr. Jekyll that Mr. Hyde will hurt him; he is swiftly called to action and takes down the laboratory door in order to help Jekyll out of risk. “Poole swung the axe over his shoulder; the blow shook the building and the red…baize door against the lock and hinges…it was not until the fifth, that the lock burst in sunder and the wreck of the door fell in wards on the carpet” (Stevenson, 41). On the other hand, we can see this scenario in a different way, in which after a while of searching for Mr. Hyde, we can assume Utterson might know something weird is going on such as supernatural thing lies behind Dr. Jekyll: “Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began go wrong, wrong in mind” (Stevenson, 12). That means Dr. Jekyll could literally transform to Mr. Hyde, but it is against logic of human beings. However, Poole and Utterson are determined to help their friend. They smash the laboratory door five times step by step to kill the bad man (Mr. Hyde) to free back Jekyll himself.
In conclusion, we can see both stories have a different approach to the individual character, but they have the same underlying meaning which is to appreciate life. Even though the other mother’s (Beldam) and Utterson’s are two extremes of someone who is the primary key for main character to seek out their trueselves in the whole story. Without the other mother, Coraline would not know how to appreciate her family and identify good or bad. The more Coraline stays with Beldam, the more she grows and becomes a hero which saves her own life and also the lives of others. While Utterson can’t save Dr. Jekyll ‘s life, he is the primary character who leads us to see the process of how he tries hard to save Jekyll’s life. We could assume that Utterson fails to help Dr. Jekyll because Mr. Hyde is actually the real person transforming to Dr. Jekyll, and now he just goes back to who he really is. Life is tough and challenging, but if we can’t identify and face it, we never learning anything new.

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