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How do the two writers differ in their exploration and presentation of evil?

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How do the two writers differ in their exploration and presentation of evil? In this essay I will investigate the different ways in which the authors portray evil between "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" written in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson, and "The Fifth Child" written in 1988 by Doris Lessing. "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" is set in Victorian England; "The Fifth Child" on the other hand is set in the 1960's through to the early 80's. This does not; however change the theme of evil ruining lives, common to the plots of both novels. In "The Fifth Child" the author shows a happy couple Harriet and David whose relationship is very family orientated. Harriet's sister, Sarah, who has a child with Downs Syndrome, implies that she and David are tempting fate by considering having more children "they all knew she was saying, four more challenges to destiny." So even in the very beginning of the story, Lessing has hinted that evil will come. In "Jekyll and Hyde" Stevenson immediately shows that Hyde is evil by the way he says that Hyde was like "some damned Juggernaut." trampling the girl as they met at the corner of the street. Both writers have done this because they wanted to create tension; in "The Fifth Child" by wondering what the evil will be, but in "Jekyll and Hyde" who this evil man is. ...read more.


Ben also had drugs in the institute to sedate him; Ben was the worst child in the institute, this shows how awful he really was. Ben and Mr Hyde both had weaknesses, but Ben's could be used to tame him. "Harriet realised that without meaning it, she had reinforced her threats: if you behave badly, then ..." Mr Hyde could not be tamed. "Edward Hyde, alone, in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil." Stevenson chose to show Hyde as pure evil that could not be tamed. This is to make him even more like a creature so the reader feels no compassion. This is reinforced as Hyde knows what he is doing is wrong, but just does not care "The man trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground." Lessing chose to show Ben as a victim so that the reader would know he was not pure evil. For this reason, Ben could be perceived as a troglodyte "You think Ben is a throwback?" The fact that he copies others reinforces this idea and shows he did not know what he was doing. Ben and Mr Hyde are described as dwarves; Mr Hyde "particularly small and particularly wicked looking," and Ben "He was a squat, burly little figure," a dwarf, but Ben was a child and Hyde was a young man. ...read more.


When Utterson first met Hyde he said that there was an indescribable deformity "he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation," Ben had an indescribable coldness in his stare that meant "He could silence a room full of people, just by being there," Lessing used this to create sinisterness. That could link back to the caveman in both cases suggesting they did not belong. There are similarities in the presentation of evil in both novels. Ben and Mr Hyde are alike both physically and in their personalities. However, Ben's evil is almost innocent as it is not deliberate as shown by him copying Paul, which suggests he does not appreciate the consequences of his actions. The evil of Mr Hyde on the other hand was conscious; this is evident when he barged into the girl, as he was quite happy to pay compensation since he knew what he had done was wrong. Both authors show evil as a destructive force. The story line of Jekyll and Hyde is more about basic evil than anything else; but the storyline of "The Fifth Child" is about social evil as well as fundamental evil. Both novels show how evil can cause relationships to crumble and lives to be ruined; Jekyll lost his life because of the evil of Hyde taking over him, and the Lovatts lives and relationships were ruined by the arrival of Ben. Oliver Dover C10 ...read more.

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