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To what extent can 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' be viewed as a 'gothic novel'

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Introduction

To what extent can 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' be viewed as a 'gothic novel'? Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic novel. It was written by Robert Louis Stevenson, he got the idea for the story after a dream he had. The word 'Goth' is originally from a German tribe and has come to mean 'barbarian' and later know as 'Gothic'. In Gothic Literature certain features are expected. These are supernatural events, have villains and hero characters, strange weather, horror, mystery and deaths. Older Gothic literature was in castles and deserted buildings. Modern Gothic novels were written is more populated areas. Another text that can be classed as 'Gothic' is the novel 'Frankenstein'. The reason for it being a 'Gothic' novel is the way it has a mutant character. Frankenstein is a mutant and is made by a crazy scientist 'I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.' Here the crazed scientist is describing his creation coming to life. This quote describes the vision of the scientist looking at the monster he created. ...read more.

Middle

there before me eyes... there stood Henry Jekyll." Hyde drank the potion in front of Lanyon and transformed back into Dr Jekyll. In this novel Mr Hyde is the villain which is also a traditional character in a gothic novel. Mr. Utterson, the lawyer is another main character in this gothic novel. He was seen as being somewhat loveable but his face never shown a smile, and he was backward in sentiment, he was cold, lean, long and dreary although there was something about him which makes the reader warm to him. He makes it almost his life's goal to solve the mystery of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. "If he be Mr. Hyde, I shall be Mr. Seek." Utterson, speaking to himself about Hyde. Although, personally I feel the multiple narrators keep the readers interested. By having a lot of different people telling their bit of the story it adds and reveals pieces of the plot and you can begin to start putting them together. This is a common gothic theme by building suspense and mystery. Utterson reveals sections of the story gradually, this builds up tension but also explains events that have happened, 'He was alive and here this day. He cannot have been disposed if in so short a space he must be still alive, he must have fled!' ...read more.

Conclusion

Soon Jekyll had no control over Hyde who know would appear whenever Jekyll would fall to sleep. "I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse." The only thing Jekyll can think to do is to take his own life to destroy the evil Hyde as well as himself. This could be Stevenson's way of saying if you give evil an inch, it will take a mile. The last scenes follow true to gothic conventions because they contain an epic battle between a man and his evil 'other half'. 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. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Response to the question

The candidate here makes a good effort to answer the question, and all of their analysis is very succinctly and explicitly linked to the question or at least the traditional themes and conventions of Gothic literature. I would argue straight ...

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Response to the question

The candidate here makes a good effort to answer the question, and all of their analysis is very succinctly and explicitly linked to the question or at least the traditional themes and conventions of Gothic literature. I would argue straight away that the extensive paragraph on the Gothic nature of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' is superfluous and at the very most should consist of four-five lines instead, concerning how it is Gothic and giving a few simple examples. No quotes or any extensive analysis is required here as no marks will be awarded for analysing the wrong book. Other than that, the candidate makes a good impression toward the examiner with various angles of the novella being taken into account - language, imagery, narrative, tension, characters etc, are all covered, although the candidate, for the sake of the allotted time during exams, may want to condense some of the analysis to a smaller size. This is no easy feat if, like so many, you are an elaborate writer who enjoys writing at length, but a directly critical analysis would be more suited to a short-time exam and so the art of writing more concisely is one that should be mastered as soon as possible.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is board and delves to a satisfying depth. The candidate makes good use of a variety of motifs and themes within 'The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde', and at some points even makes contextual analysis (contextual appreciation is something that will greatly enhance any essay, should it be accurately implemented). Discussing the social and historical factors being the genre of Gothic literature takes up only a few lines of this essay, as were it less sporadically placed that candidate could easily achieve an A grade, but without it, the essay remains a strong B grade for A Level. Examples of contextual analysis here would be Stevenson's thoughts about the dream he had (good to mention the dream though) or maybe the expectations of the time the novel was written (had much Gothic literature been written? What was the opinion of it? How scary would a read in this time period find the acts of Mr, Hyde?). This is the missing information that would lift this candidate's essay up to an A grade.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication has a few issues, and also contributes to the essay not reaching the A grade. Candidate should avoid improper grammar as much as possible and should stick to Standard English: "mysterious violence keep the reader well gripped", which also features a minor grammatical error is simply not acceptable, as "well" is not a substitute for "very" of "really" or any other adverb in Standard English. Though minor, there are frequent grammatical errors like the one in the sentence above that could easily be sorted by a quick read-through to ensure written accuracy.


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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 27/07/2012

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