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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? Both books explore evil through a main character. In "The Fifth Child" Ben is the rejected child who interferes, and ruins his family's life, however Hyde in "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" is the evil of a respectable doctor, Jekyll. Robert Stevenson's story was published in 1886 and was based on his horrific childhood growing up in the dark, lonely streets of Victorian Times, in Edinburgh. Lessing has written about a small town outside London where Ben is brought up by an old-fashioned family through the 60s and 70s. The book was first published in 1988. Both writers differ in their exploration and presentation of evil. The plots of the two novels both focus on the evil character. In "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Mr Utterson walked through the streets of London. His friend Enfield tells how one night, he saw a girl, who was running, suddenly colliding with a strange, small man. Then the man walked over the child's body and left her screaming. The man, who was called Mr Hyde, brought a cheque, to give to the family of the child, but his name was not written on it. Dr Jekyll was. Finding this occurrence strange Utterson took out the will of his old friend Dr Jekyll, in which he said he wished to leave everything to Edward Hyde in case he died or disappeared. ...read more.


He drank the liquid and changed into Henry Jekyll. Since then Lanyon couldn't sleep and felt as if he had not long to live. Then Utterson read Jekyll's confession. Harriet and David, two normal adults, meet at an office party, they get together and buy a large Victorian style house. After a while they decide to get married. For all her life Harriet had wanted eight children. They have four of them, perfectly normal children, but as the fifth child is conceived it causes some problems. This is to be no ordinary pregnancy. The fifth child is born and their lives are forever changed, Ben who is the fifth child is not like a normal boy, he is savage and animal like. Ben totally wears Harriet out and many of his relatives don't want anything to do with her or her child, accept her mother. She is exhausted and even Ben's own father rejects him. Harriet takes Ben to see a doctor,, the doctor tells Harriet it was over excitement and having too much energy. Harriet takes his advice but after a few more weeks she can't take it any longer. David sends Ben to a mental institution behind Harriet's back; she doesn't think much of it at first as it gives him a good break. The family gets back to normal and forgets about Ben but Harriet cannot help thinking what he is going through. ...read more.


Both Ben and Hyde have little freedom. Ben was sent to an institution for his evil character where he was treated appallingly. Harriet sees some of the other children there and Lessing describes "a baby like a comma, great lolling head on a stalk of a body" and "a lanky boy was screwed, one half of his body sliding away from the other." The institution could be a way in which Lessing has portrayed evil, not through the central character but by the way, in which she thinks other people in the world act. Hyde has little freedom because he cannot be known or seen by anyone. As he is a murderer and is trying to hide the fact that he is Jekyll. He also cannot really go out, as his characteristics are frightening. There are many similarities but also some differences. Ben and Hyde have different ages. Hyde is quite clearly Harriet and Jekyll, from which the main characters come about, are also both very similar. They both create evil and regret what they have done. The difference is that Jekyll created his evil purposefully, and could have prevented it. Harriet was expecting a normal child and had no choice. I think that the books are joined in that they both contain evil characters created by mankind, and that these characters in someway have control over what they are doing. Ben has a better excuse of behaving in this way as he is young and has never been taught anything different. Hyde on the other hand is just a nasty, hellish, twisted murderer. ...read more.

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