The Battle of ‘Good’ and Evil in Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘The Suicide Club’

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Akgün B.

23rd All-Turkey English Literature Conference, İstanbul, Turkey, 24 - 26 April 2002, pp.180-187

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.180-187
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In the story “The Suicide Club” Robert Louis Stevenson is dealing with the problem of masculinity in a decadent society in which males have completely lost the definition of traditional role of masculinity. That Stevenson feels the masculinity anxiety provoking him to write these stories is a clear indication that those sexual roles are artificial and distress producing. If Stevenson sees “good” as the “real” men and “bad” is, again for him, deviations from the norms, then this shows the corruptive and self-assertive nature of society itself. The text of “The Suicide Club” abounds with indications of the slipperiness and ambiguity of gender roles as assigned by society and that ambiguity is in itself suggestive of “gay bashing”. This is actually what Stevenson is doing under the disguise of presenting an allegory of good and evil. The gay man becomes the “other” and is put into the same category as other “others” such as the American Silas Q. Scuddamore, the French Madame Zéphyrine, and the Arabian author whose text is actually being reconstructed by the Victorian male.

For the full text, see:'s_The_Suicide_Club.