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AS and A Level: Robert Louis Stevenson

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  • Peer Reviewed essays 2
  1. With particular reference to the construction of Mr Hyde, discuss how portrayal of the character places the novella into the Gothic Horror genre.

    Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde fits into this mould of a Gothic Horror story perfectly, and this is largely down to the construction and portrayal of the character of Mr Edward Hyde; the evil half of Dr Jekyll's personality. Stevenson introduces the theme of their being two sides to everybody's personality with his opening description of Mr Utterson. Stevenson begins by creating a negative impression of the lawyer, that he is "of a rugged countenance" and that he is "never lighted by a smile".

    • Word count: 2876
  2. With close reference to the setting of 'Psycho' and 'Edward Scissor hands' discuss how the directors use elements of the Gothic tradition.

    The background behind her is not clearly visible and is set to a Gothic shadow view. As she continues to drive away further from her home the weather changes to heavy rain, the whole atmosphere draws in on her and the frantic music that plays adjacent to the fantastic camera shots results in a penetrative impact upon the viewer. As she continues driving it comes to attention that there is no other traffic visible. Solitarily driving down the highway Hitchcock takes a shot that shows what Marion would see from behind the windscreen.

    • Word count: 2379
  3. Examine how a sense of mystery, terror and suspense is created and maintained in 'The Old Nurse's Story' By Elizabeth Gaskell. You should consider specifically, how successful the story is as a piece of Gothic fiction.

    The Gothic Novel usually had a strong moral attached, designed to make the reader think and learn valuable lessons. Beneath the melancholy atmosphere of the Gothic tradition lurked psychological subtext, aiming to provoke terror in the reader's mind. This usually examined the subconscious and unconscious mind and its impulses and dealt with socially taboo subjects, including incest, murder, rape and diabolism. In this way, terror and mystery were slowly built up in the reader's mind. Gothic Novels were relatively long in size and slow in pace, hence the reason why they appears so outdated today.

    • Word count: 2730
  4. Victorian Villains in Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    In the second extract, (Great Expectations) the atmosphere is rather different as it is outside and not inside. It is located in a marsh country, close to a river and twenty miles of the sea, Charles describes the afternoon as raw this would mean that it would cold and damp. It is then described as a bleak place overgrown with nettles. The land beyond the churchyard is dark and flat but intersected with a few mounds. The wind is described as rushing from the sea, which would mean it is speeding up.

    • Word count: 2231

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent can 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' be viewed as a 'gothic novel'

    "To conclude this essay, I believe Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic novel, my reasons for this are; Jekyll and Hyde follow the patterns of tradition gothic novels but even though there are a lot of connections there are some differences; the setting of the novel does not follow the elements of a gothic novel as it is not set in a remote place or a castle, also there is no ancient prophecy or a promethean hero in this novel. On a whole I believe Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic novel as it follows many elements that are used in gothic novels. I believe it was a successful gothic novel and it would be well received by people today but more so by Victorian readers as it would have been seen as more frightening then, as it was set around the Victorian times."

  • To what extent can Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Jamaica Kincaid's Ovando be classified as Postcolonial Gothic texts?

    "In conclusion, it is clear to see that these texts can be defined as postcolonial gothic. As postcolonial texts, they also possess many of the distinguishing features of gothic texts. The aptness of the gothic genre as a means of reiterating colonial pasts is evident throughout, as the horror and disruption that it conveys so well is symbolic of the anxiety and heartache that the process of colonisation created for those people ensnared in its progression."

  • Discuss the insight which 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' gives the reader into Victorian society.

    "In conclusion the novel shows great insight into the Victorians upper class society we see this in Dr Jekyll's house; as well as upper class society we see a side of the lower class this is shown through Mr Hyde. Also we read about the supernatural horror which taunts the reader, another factor is the fog, this gives the impression of a mask for Mr Hyde's rampages. 1Peter Weeks 10K English course work"

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