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Explore Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the Body Snatchers as both gothic and mysterious texts.

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Introduction

EXPLORE STEVENSON'S DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE AND THE BODY SNATCHERS AS BOTH GOTHIC AND MYSTERIOUS TEXTS. The novels Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, written in 1885, and The Body Snatchers, written in ______ can be seen as novels with a gothic genre as well as mystery stories. They allow the reader to become captivated and absorbed within the text so that they can find out the intriguing nature of the novel, coming across as the story unfolds via clues and hints as to what twists are involved in the plot and characters to unveil the mystery. In the era these novels were written, they were the first in their kind in terms of the gothic genre and as mysterious texts where the turn of events or the characters behaviour was not predictable. They can be considered as novels which look at the darker side of a persons capabilities, this was a new concept to the Victorians in the 19th Century. The book, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde raises issues of and supports the concept of the dual nature of man, Victorian hypocrisy, the bestial nature of man and the experimentation with science and drugs. The issues within the book created a whole new genre in the nineteenth century for such books including The Body Snatchers and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which can also be categorised into this genre. In this essay I will explore Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as a mystery and a gothic story. I will include historical, social and cultural knowledge of the Victorian era and compare this to The Body Snatchers as both mystery and gothic stories. I will also discuss the meaning behind the stories and the effect it has on the reader. In the Victorian era the concept of a man having or being able to have a dual nature was unthinkable. They did not believe that something like that could be possible, where a person could combine both the good self and the bad self within ...read more.

Middle

This quote tells us that the town was yet to known the events of the night before. When an author uses pathetic fallousy, it allows them to convey future events to the reader as it enables them to connect the mood of the events or actions in the novel with the weather conditions. In gothic genre novels, the worse the weather conditions the worse the event which is or has taken place. If the weather conditions are foggy, stormy, windy and generally unfavourable it makes the reader think that something bad or disturbing mite occur, under a blanket of bad weather. It adds to the readers anticipation, holding there interests with the descriptions allowing the reader to actually feel and visualise the background settings, 'into the black night'. Another part of the gothic genre is the use of descriptive words which creates imagery in the mind of the reader. Stevenson's opening in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde begins with a character description of Hyde. This is a strong opening, shocking the reader from the start, as he is not a pleasant figure. This opening sets the tone for the whole novel, making the reader curious as to who or what that figure is. Questions are put in the mind of reader from the descriptive gothic nature of the novel. Stevenson combined the gothic genre with Darwin's theory of Evolution successfully with reference to Hyde. He is numerously referred to as 'bestial', this is supportive of the theory that humans are 'superior beings' but have evolved from animals. His nature is not human like, he has behaviour void of any emotion to the people he attacks, like an animal. Stevenson uses words relating to his 'bestial' nature to describe particular aspects of him like his voice, enhancing the overall image the reader has created, as 'husky'. It creates imagery of a dog / wolf like creature making Hyde more real to the reader as they can image what he sounds like. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is shown through the metamorphoses experienced by Dr Jekyll as he becomes Mr Hyde and vice versa. The dual nature of a man theory is something that the Victorians had dismissed, this novel would have shown them that it is possible with the experimentation of drugs certain outcomes can be achieved even if it not seen to be acceptable in society, sometimes the inner self takes control over the external image and the desire to delve into the dark side cannot be controlled. However, Dr Jekyll managed to achieve this and he kept his respectable external grace, which is accepted in society, while doing all the darker things he desired, without losing any social grace. The concept of this would have been unthinkable to the Victorians although they knew that behind closed doors actions take place which reflect both the good and bad or evil side of man. Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde allow the reader to see what goes on behind closed doors. It is a sight into something that society knew about but it was accepted by the silence that surrounded the noblemen's actions behind closed doors as they were never challenged due to the respected they received in society. The Body Snatchers in comparison has more elements of the horror genre, this is due to the nature of the actions which take place in the novel. The murders and the general theme of the story would have a shock factor for the reader as the horrifying act of murdering a person would be quite unthinkable for the reader. Although they would have been aware that people do get murdered, the shock element arises form the characters actually committing the crimes, which the reader is reading about from their point of view, not the victims. It gives an insight into how they think about what they are doing, rather than the reader always having the view of how it is portrayed in society; it would allow them to compare the crime from both sides. ...read more.

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