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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the novel, and support their choices with details from the text.


Themes to Look For and Discuss

The Duality of Good and Evil in Humanity

The duality of good and evil in humanity is a topic that many are reluctant to speak of: the fact that good and evil exist in all of us, and that sometimes, evil overcomes the good. We have several examples from history to back this idea up, but sometimes it’s just the simple, everyday things that highlight this duality: when a child bullies another child; giving into road rage; spreading rumors about someone who is disliked; or saying mean and hurtful things to someone we love. The Gothic tradition often directly opposed the ideas of Transcendentalism, gaining traction at the time Stevenson wrote this novella, which postured that humanity, if left to its own devices, would ultimately choose good over evil. Instead, this novel shows that the evil in our nature, if given a little nourishment and attention, might grow into an uncontrollable monster.


The Dangers of Unethical Science

Dr. Jekyll arrives at Hyde through his experimentation with transient science. Unsatisfied with his life dedicated to study, and becoming more convinced of the "hidden other" within, he follows his experiments even when they became dangerous. Jekyll himself writes that the danger of death was always present, but despite this, he felt compelled to follow through and see what was on the other side of his potion. This lends credence to the often-disputed notion that when one tries to play "God" and mess with the natural order and balance of things, terrible things can result.


The Victorian Standard of Reputation

Henry Jekyll is smart and well-respected, but he finds himself bored by his Victorian obligations. He is pious and makes sure that he gives to charities; he tries to ensure that he remains a benign figure in the community; he stays out of trouble. However, he knows that deep down inside, there’s someone else vying for attention. If he gives into that someone, however, his very reputation could be destroyed. When Jekyll allows Hyde to be set free, he can do anything he wants with virtual anonymity—after all, Hyde doesn’t really exist. Jekyll is free to explore all of the things that would destroy him in London.



Motifs, Imagery & Symbols

The Door

An important symbol is the door. The door itself is a means for Hyde to enter and leave the Jekyll residence unhindered. It gives Jekyll the ultimate freedom to embrace his inner evil, become Hyde, and go about the city engaging in evil exploits, without ever being held accountable to his servants or friends. When Jekyll resolves to stop turning into Hyde, he crushes the key to the door beneath his heel; however, it ultimately does not stop the evil Hyde from returning.


Hyde’s Physiognomy

Hyde's face exudes pure evil; the mere sight of him inspires people to hate him, fear him, or be completely repulsed by him. Enfield relates, "There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable." Hyde himself is small in stature, because he is the side of Jekyll’s personality that hasn’t been nourished: the evil side that has been repressed for years.


The Salt

The salt that Jekyll uses to finalize and perfect his experiment turns out to be impure. It is the irony that this impurity is what allows the experiment to work, and brings out the impurity in Jekyll. When Jekyll is struggling to stay as Jekyll, he discovers that all of the new samples of this salt are pure, and he realizes the mistake. It is in this moment that Jekyll realizes he cannot be saved.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
  • [ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/2] Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard depicting important themes, symbols, and motifs in the story.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify important themes, symbols, and motifs.
  3. Describe how the theme, symbol, or motif is important to the story.
  4. Illustrate each example with appropriate images, scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Themes, Symbols, and Motifs (Grades 9-12)
Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes, symbols, and/or motifs in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Theme(s), Symbol(s), and/or Motif(s)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story. Symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story. Motifs are correctly identified as important recurring features or ideas in the story.
Most themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete. Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete. Some motifs are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete.
Most themes are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most motifs are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No themes, symbols, or motifs are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motifs that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s), and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions contain inaccuracies in their explanations, or do not highlight their significance to the story.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depiction
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are inaccurate to the story. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the story.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the story and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the story.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.




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Image Attributions
  • New Blue Door • Andrew Beeston • License Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)


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