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How does Stevenson create an atmosphere of suspense and horror in "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"? Why was this so significant at the time it was written?

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Introduction

How does Stevenson create an atmosphere of suspense and horror in "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"? Why was this so significant at the time it was written? In the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson truly proves himself as a wonderful writer. Throughout the story he keeps a huge sense of suspense and horror, capturing the reader's interest and making them want to read on. From just the first paragraph he has gained the readers interest and pulled them into the plot of the story. The opening sentence of the story is: "Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable." This sentence quickly grabs your attention and shows what an interesting and complex character Mr. Utterson is. Throughout the story Stevenson continues to describe every aspect of the story in amazing detail creating a clear image of what is going on. One building that plays a very big part in the story was described in extreme detail. From the beginning you learn that there is something unpleasant about this building. ...read more.

Middle

The presence of this fog helps heighten the feeling of danger and mystery, acting as a cloak for all sorts of evil deeds. I found that Stevenson created a feeling of suspense by leaving unanswered questions in my head. I found that none of the story made much sense until the final chapter, then the entire story seemed to fall into place. Until then these unanswered questions kept us reading on in order to find out the answer. One question put into your head from fairly early on is who is Mr. Hyde? This question stays with you until the final chapter and is probably the number one reason people continue to read this book. There are many other questions that heighten the sense of mystery, such as why does Dr. Jekyll in his will leave all of his possessions to Hyde in the strange case of his disappearance. The readers are truly mystified to find that a highly thought of person such as Jekyll wishes to leave all of his possessions to such a horrible person such as Hyde. I found that the part of the story containing the most suspense was when Jekyll had locked himself in his room. ...read more.

Conclusion

But the hand which I now saw, clearly enough in the yellow light of a mid-London morning, lying half shut on the bed-clothes, was lean, corded, knuckly, of a dusky pallor, and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of Edward Hyde." The reader can imagine the horror that Jekyll must have felt to find that he never knows when he may turn into Hyde. The thought of being caught and hung for his crimes worries Jekyll so much that he decides to bring his life to an end. In these final few sentences Stevenson creates a huge and dramatic atmosphere leaving the reader on the edge of his seat. "Will Hyde die upon the scaffold? Or will he find the courage to release himself at the last moment? God knows; I am careless; this is my true hour of death, and what is to follow concerns another than myself. Here, then, as I lay down the pen, and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end." Throughout the story Stevenson continues to grab the reader and keep them reading on. Due to Stevenson' s brilliant story writing and imagination, this book has gone down as one of the best books of all time. ...read more.

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