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How does Stevenson create a sense of horror, mystery and tension in the first two chapters of his novel 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde'?

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Introduction

How does Stevenson create a sense of horror, mystery and tension in the first two chapters of his novel 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde'? In this essay I am going to be showing the many different methods and techniques in which Stevenson creates a sense of horror, mystery and tension in his novel 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. In order to do this I am going to look at the ways used to create these elements in a range of themes. The themes I will explore are character description, description of places, the atmosphere, actions of the character, foreshadowing, and information held back from the reader. There are a number of times in this novel when Stevenson creates more than one of the elements using character description. The first time he does this is right at the very start of the novel during the description of the main character, Mr. Utterson. This description adds to the horror, the mystery, and the tension. By using the adjectives that he has when describing Mr. Utterson, it adds to the sense of horror. He is described to be 'cold' and 'scanty'. These adjectives are not used to complement him, and would usually be used to portray a cruel or nasty person. Another example is when Mr. Utterson is described as 'A man of rugged countenance, never lighted by a smile'. Not only does this add to the horror, but also adds to the mystery because a rugged appearance is not something you would associate a lawyer, which is a line of work that people constantly look their best. ...read more.

Middle

Even more mystery is added when Doctor Lanyon gets a bit hot under the collar while talking about why he fell out with his good friend Mr Utterson. Stevenson says 'This little spirit o temper', which shows that he got annoyed due to the disagreement between them. This is mysterious because after being such good friends, they fall out over one scientific disagreement. The reader is left in suspense because they are awaiting the reason for them falling out. Once he returns home, another element of horror is added. It says ' To the great dark bed'. This is another reference to dark and evil. Mystery, tension and horror are all added to the atmosphere surrounding his nightmares. 'His imagination was engaged, or rather enslaved' meaning he could not think of anything else other than the incident, this adds to the horror element. 'Even in his dreams it had no face'. This adds to the mysterious factor of the book because in a dream, things that you do not know for definite, are normally filled with the image you have imagined it would look like, but in this case, there is nothing at all. Also this adds to the tension in that the reader may have an image in their heads but do not know exactly what he looks like, but still don't know actually how he looks. The reader doesn't know because Richard Enfield could not describe it, and Mr Utterson couldn't even begin to imagine what his face looked like. ...read more.

Conclusion

It becomes clear that Mr Utterson knows who signed the cheque when he says 'If I do not ask you the name of the other party, it is because I know it already'. The name is not mentioned by any one of them therefore adding mystery to the story. Another piece of information held back from the reader is the 'unscientific balderdash', which caused the argument between the two good friends, Dr Jekyll and Dr Lanyon. The reader is not informed of the reason why they fell out, which adds more mystery. One more piece of information that is held back from the reader is the face of Mr Hyde. There are many descriptions of Mr Hyde, but never anything about his face. Even when Mr Utterson asks 'Will you let me see your face?' we still do not get a clear description of what it is like, or any idea why it is deformed. The reader is still waiting for a description of his face so a sense of tension is added. In conclusion to this novel, Robert Louis Stevenson successfully creates a sense of horror, a sense of mystery, and a sense of tension using events such as character actions, character descriptions, also places and objects are described including the will. The points I have put across in this essay all use quotes and examples to show how he has created the three elements in question, and how they have contributed to his novel. Stevenson's reason for creating these elements is to make the novel as exciting as he possibly could, and they make the reader want to read on. Chris Alderson ...read more.

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