The science behind the fiction

For World Book Day, our English and Science Departments teamed up to look at the science behind the fiction, asking students to analyse if the experiment that takes place in Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson could actually work.

Leo (Year 10) uses food to explain the affects of the science used behind the fiction...


The science behind Jekyll and Hyde is interesting to me. A scientist takes a drug which flips his personality upside-down, turning him into a cruel, large being. I can imagine many ways in which this would be possible, so I'm going to explain them... with food. 

Scenario A: 

Imagine that Jekyll’s physical change was like making a cake mix. Taking that chemical sum separated all of the ingredients, remixed them but whisked the flour in with the eggs first. It would end up becoming this big, disgusting, green paste.  

Now think of Jekyll’s mental change and you’ll see it as this abomination of a cake mix. You get the bowl, put it in a new bowl with the sugar and cocoa, but empty a whole tub of marmite onto it and then fold it in. All you have to do from here is cook the cake mix for 8-10 mins, take it out, sprinkle icing sugar on it, covering one side with more marmite, before rolling it up and you have a brand new, rolled up cake mix. And it’s full of marmite so you either love it or you hate it. 

Scenario B: 

Think of humans as a completely predetermined cake. It isn’t a cake mix. It’s already a great, luscious, chocolate Swiss Roll called Dr. Jekyll. Imagine the sudden change of Jekyll into Hyde was like a laser ray from an alien civilisation hitting the cake and suddenly the eggs were scrambled in a frying pan before you mixed them with the sugar. And the sugar is replaced with brown sugar, the flour with self-raising and the chocolate icing with beef casserole. You have this weird mess of scrambled- bread-beef-casserole-y Canadian roll, the opposite of Switzerland.  

In terms you may understand (that up there /\ was just for fun) the mutations would affect the overall taste of the cake and how you would react to it. The personality change mixed with the swelling could be related to caffeine and allergic reactions to some of the chemical compounds. It doesn’t sound like it would be mutations because they are biological adaptions to hazardous environments. The environment that Jekyll inhabits is the same as ever. Earth. The chemicals could have changed his reactions to the environment but I'm still going firmly with my proposal.  


Have a closer look at our GCSEs English Curriculum here