Robert Louis Stevenson Jekyll And Hyde English Literature Essay

991 words (4 pages) Essay in English Literature

5/12/16 English Literature Reference this

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel of horror focusing on events resulting from scientific experimentation. The novel contains elements of science fiction, a literary genre focusing on a fictional story of how scientific experiments, discoveries, and technologies affect human beings for better or worse. Science fiction differs from pure fantasy in that it presents events that appear to be scientifically plausible. The book also contains elements of Gothic fiction.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is composed of multiple content-specific sub genres. The beginning of the novel makes the novella a detective type of story in which Mr. Utterson is trying to seek the truth. The core of the novel revolves around the mystery such as who exactly is Mr. Hyde and what is his relationship to Dr. Jekyll. It also contains elements of science fiction; in which the scientific experiments eventually lead to the creation of the dark side of Dr. Jekyll. The novella also contains many elements of gothic fiction such as the supernatural happenings, horrific events, the ruins of buildings, the dark room, etc which gives reader a feeling that something is just not right. Most of the novel is set during the night which provides a connotation that makes the novella even more mysterious and eerie. Stevenson’s use of these genres provides reader with the suspense and the knowledge that something was odd about all these mishaps even in the beginning.

Throughout almost the entire novella, the story is told in a third person limited point of view. It follows the character of Mr. Utterson though some character’s narratives are also integrated into his point of view such as Mr. Einfields story, the maids account. At the end of the novella, the Dr Lanyan’s and Dr. Jekyll’s letters are in the first person format, though Mr. Utterson is the person that actually reads it. The story is formatted in a way that provides a suspense. The information of what readers know are limited in which it is told through Mr. Utterson’s view; the audience only knows what Mr. Utterson knows. It provies readers with the curiosity about the events happening and how this puzzle hasn’t fallen into place. If it were told through Jekyll’s point of view, the suspense would be minimized and it would not have provided the full effect of the mysterious, gothic novella. The shift in point of view finally unravels everything and the truth is discovered


House (nice, like jekyll

and laboratory (decaying

relationship between mr hyde and Jekyll isn’t apparent

Key to house (connects both of them, they’re actually one person

Hyde’s Physical Appearance (ugliness like his ethics)

The term “Gothic” covers a wide variety of stories, but certain recurring themes and motifs define the genre. Gothic tales may contain explicitly supernatural material, as Dracula does, or imply supernatural phenomena without narrating it directly, as Jekyll and Hyde does. They may not allude to supernatural events at all, but simply convey a sense of the uncanny, of dark and disturbing elements that break into the routine of prosaic, everyday life, as Jane Eyre does. Gothic novels often center around secrets-such as Jekyll’s connection to Hyde-or around doppelgĂ„ngers, a German term referring to people who resemble other characters in strange, disconcerting ways. Frankenstein’s monster is a doppelgĂ„nger for Frankenstein, just as Hyde is for Jekyll. Above all, Gothic novels depend upon geography for their power. Nearly every Gothic novel takes place in some strange, eerie locale from which the characters have difficulty escaping, be it Dracula’s castle, the estate of Thornfield in Jane Eyre, or the decaying homes and palaces that appear in the stories of the greatest practitioner of American Gothic fiction, Edgar Allan Poe. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, of course, that uncanny place is the fog-blanketed world of nighttime London.

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Although Jekyll and Hyde’s houses are very close together physically, they are extremely different in means of condition and quality of living. The city consists of two parts, the more privileged and upper class part where Jekyll lives, and the part where Hyde lives, which seems poverty stricken. An example of this is that Jekyll’s house and laboratory are comparatively different from each other; even they are so close together physically, the architecture is very different. His house at the front shows a more decorative and attractive side then that of his laboratory, which is gaunt and enclosed, lacks windows and has a dingy structure. This description echoes Hyde’s personality, as he has a secretive, intriguing air about him. This emphasizes how Jekyll’s house and laboratory differ; one part is open and good, and the other concealed and evil. The cabinet connected to the laboratory provides a sense of confinement for Jekyll. There are no windows, but instead a big revolving mirror. This could symbolise how his relationships are becoming only that of himself and his alter-ego, as apposed to the outside world. The significance of there being no windows in Jekyll’s cabinet could be because he feels he is stuck and cannot escape himself. As there are no windows, it sets an inescapable feel of confinement. In the incident of the letter, the fog is described as continuously coming and going. This could be interpreted as Jekyll sometimes being himself, and sometimes Mr Hyde; which emphasizes his changing state; sometimes clear, sometimes clouded with evil. When it says ‘mournful re-evasion of darkness’, it could be describing Dr Jekyll’s transformation from himself to Hyde, that he is mournful for his alter-ego coming out and invading his good side with darkness. This may mean that Jekyll is having sorrowful regrets about the evil which Hyde had committed.

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