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How does Stevenson create the atmosphere of suspense, horror and mystery in the first two chapters of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde?

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Introduction

How does Stevenson create the atmosphere of suspense, horror and mystery in the first two chapters of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde? Stevenson uses many methods to achieve suspense, mystery and horror in the first two chapters of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He does this by using a clever sense of setting, vocabulary, surroundings and the manner his characters are described. Some of these are highlighted in the depiction of the house; Enfield's story; Henry Jekyll will and the meeting with Hyde. One of the chapters where Stevenson creates an atmosphere of mystery is in Chapter one, Story of the Door. This story is not of any door, but of 'the' door. The reader expects something to happen, yet you are thrown off course. The novel starts with an introduction to Mr Utterson, a man who was 'never lighted by a smile' yet 'somehow lovable'; Utterson seems to be an ordinary person, however he's the very first thing mentioned in 'the story of the door'. The setting in this chapter is described in such still and calm scenery: The street 'shone' out, 'freshly' painted shutters, general 'cleanliness'. The reader is not ready for an act of suspense, especially in such a calm environment. ...read more.

Middle

So when this cruel occurrence occurs, it is more surprising and unexpected. Stevenson highlights how callous this act is through a chain of aggressive verbs, 'screaming', and 'hellish', 'trampled'. As well, the abrupt contrast of 'one little man who was stumping' to 'some damned juggernaut' is horrifying since our character is described as an unstoppable force, and you do not know what else he is capable of doing. The unexpected change from 'one little man' to 'some damned juggernaut' is scary, as you do not know when he is going to change from one to the other, thus everything seems more tense and sudden than usual, creating a sense of suspense and horror. In addition to Stevenson using setting to create a sense of suspense, horror and mystery, he goes on to create mystery through Jekyll's will. Although the reader expects there to be some mystery and suspense in the second chapter from reading the title 'Search for Mr Hyde', Stevenson exceeds this in making it surprisingly more mysterious. He does this through Dr Jekyll will. One of the very first things the will says: that in case of Dr Jekyll 'disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months', the said Edward Hyde should step into the said Henry Jekyll shoes without any further delay. ...read more.

Conclusion

During the Victorian times, Darwin's theory of evolution had become public, and had shocked all, with his thoughts that humans were of descendants to apes and are in some way or another related to them, contradictorily to that of Adam and Eve. The fact that Stevenson used these verbs and adjectives to illustrate Hyde as an animal, would have shocked his original audience, reminding them of the fact that they're descendants of mere apes, thus creating a scary sensation, adding to the suspense and horror of the novel itself. Is Darwin's theory of evolution accurate, if so, as portrayed in the second chapter, in which ways does this mean we could act as mere animals ourselves? Stevenson uses different techniques to create a mood in which he feels is suitable to the scene, for example, setting, punctuation and vocabulary to set the scene, and character descriptions, in which adding to the suspense, horror or mystery of the scene. During the first two chapters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he uses a range of different methods to create a sense of suspense, horror, mystery. There are examples of these throughout the chapters, and the novel itself. Stevenson does this even more shockingly, with the human - animalistic characteristics throughout the book, which would of undoubtedly of been shocking at the time. ...read more.

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