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How Does Stevenson Engage His Readers in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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Introduction

How Does Stevenson Engage His Readers? In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Stevenson uses many ways of engaging his reader throughout the novel. He applies these methods in this way to keep the reader interested in the book. To start off with, Stevenson uses Narrative Methods. These methods add to the suspense and heighten the emotional impact. One use of narrative methods is the fact he tells the story from several perspectives. One chapter of the book is set out as a type of police report with the maidservant recalling what happened the night that Danvers was murdered. The way you can tell it is a report of some kind is because of the extra bits of information added - "(as the maid described it)" (page 47, line 2). This chapter, apart from giving you a different view of events, makes the readers realise that this man was an important figure in society and this story has gone from a mystery story (with the mystery being the nightmare Enfield had, the door and the strange man named Hyde) to a murder-mystery story as now there is a killer on the loose. This will give the story a frightening twist for the readers but the use of the language makes them keep reading particularly as it Hyde is revealed to be the killer in chapter 4. ...read more.

Middle

and also "A mist dispersed; i saw my life to be forfeit. This tells how Jekyll feels he has nowhere to go in life and feels despondent. He recalls all of Hyde's action and how he "enjoyed the leaping pulses and secret pleasures" but how he knew admits Hyde was sadistic and mental - "No man morally sane could have been guilty of that crime". This is because it was a stupid thing from Hyde's point of view as know he is a wanted man and cannot roam the streets freely anymore - "To be tempted, however slightly, was to fail". Jekyll starts to think suicide's the only way to stop the maniacal Hyde - "and when I know he fears my power to cut him off by suicide" (Page 96 line 15-16), as he has "terrors of the scaffold". The last page of the book is the most emotional and well-written page of the whole book as Jekyll writes "his wonderful selfishness" but also "ape-like spite". There he turned some con about Hyde into a pro but also made a con seem more than a con. This will tell the reader how emotionally attached to Hyde, Jekyll really was and how this decision was probably the hardest he has had to make in his life. The last few lines Jekyll has made up his decision in the sense he has gone from contemplating suicide to being definite - "And indeed the doom that is closing on us both" (Page 96 line 6-7). ...read more.

Conclusion

This is true as Jekyll said of not changing to Hyde for two months - "But time began at last to obliterate the freshness of my alarm, I once again compound and swallowed the transforming draught". Stevenson also included a lot more questions than there were answers. The Victorians enjoyed this as although the main loose ends tied up they had a feeling of authority as they got to decide some of the outcomes. As the Victorians found literature as a type of "escapism" where they could escape from their boring, old lives Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was the perfect novel which fitted all the criteria of a good, mystery/horror book that the Victorians could escape to and therefore engage them! In conclusion to the question, How Does Stevenson Engage His Readers, I think he engages them by using all these different methods - narrative, setting, and what the people in the era it was written liked. I think he engaged the Victorians though particularly on the latter as they had something to relate to e.g. Soho - a lot lower - middle class people lived round there who would buy this book and therefore read it to the end as it is of particular interest to them. This is the same for all of London though. For most people though this story kept them engaged by the excellent descriptions, the use of emotions and the suspense involved. Once a murder had taken place no one was ever going to put the book down! ...read more.

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