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How does R.L. Stevenson create fear and suspense in the novel " The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde?

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Introduction

Q: How does R.L. Stevenson create fear and suspense in the novel " The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde? "Each of us has heaven and hell in him"(Oscar Wilde). The book 'The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde' is a tale concerning the duplicity of human nature. Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, the allegory is the outcome of "an adult nightmare" highlighting the themes of fear, suspense, and primarily, the theme of duality. The story attacks the concept of Victorian hypocrisy and confirms that the desire for infallibility can prove to be lethal. Stevenson, through this book highlights the mental imbalance one has to suffer as a result of the human mind. He manages to stir the emotions of his readers by invoking in them the realization, that all human beings have different shades, characteristics, emotions and preoccupations. The book tutors its readers on the fact that self-acceptance is an integral part of the human persona and is ultimately the one that commands respect from the rest of society and those around us. Stevenson implants fear and suspense in the book by plunging the story and its characters into action from the very beginning. What starts out as an early morning walk between the two friends-Utterson and Enfield-coils into a dramatic, spine-chilling narration when Enfield points to the door "connected" "with a very odd story." ...read more.

Middle

It plays a significant role during the murder of sir Danvers Carew acting, as a contrast to the horrendous scene. The atmosphere of darkness, even though present all though out the book, becomes most prominent when Dr. Jekyll restlessly paces back and forth in this cabinet. The darkness is symbolical, as not only does it prevent clear vision, but also the distinction of right and wrong. It is therefore figurative as by the time the darkness lifts; it is too late. Linguistic details have been provided by Stevenson to add a new dimension to the theme of fear and suspense. The use of graphic descriptions helps the reader to visualize the horrors presented by the author. Stevenson offers a detailed analysis of Jekyll's transformation into Hyde, triggering in him, the contrasting feelings of ecstasy as well as the "pain of being reborn as Hyde." Dr. Jekyll has been described as having "more than a father's interest" and sees Edward Hyde, not as a sinful criminal but as a source to fulfill his innermost desires. Jekyll endures "a grinding in the bones" and a "deep feeling of nausea" for Hyde, however, he doesn't realize that the price is yet to be paid. The book's metaphorical title uses the techniques of euphemism and is pregnant with meaning. ...read more.

Conclusion

We see that this book holds great relevance even in today's times as it can be related to illegitimate practices like drug and alcohol consumption. The book teaches us that our harmless actions of today can prove to be the murderous addictions of tomorrow. It can also be connected to the unethical advancement in technology such as cloning and genetic engineering. However by noticing the fate of Jekyll we see what happens to men who indulge in "unscientific balderdash" and ask ourselves that whether the advancement in technology is really a short-term blessing or a long-term curse? The book carries a timeless message and is not of an age but for all time therefore it can be connected to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein as both the books present the abuse of science. The book also shares an association with Freud's theories of psychoanalysis and split personality and can also be signified as a part of Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. Darwin's theories justify the "ape-like fury" of Mr. Hyde. We can also say that Dr. Jekyll's need for an alter ego was born of the inflexibility of the Victorian society however, according to me, Dr. Jekyll is not justified in his unlawful doings as he tries to utilize his knowledge by using unethical practices and therefore, beings his life to a dead end and a total failure. "It is easier to live through someone else than to become complete yourself." (The Feminine Mystique, 1963) ...read more.

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