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How Does Stevenson Intend His Readers to Respond to 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'? What Methods Does He Use to Bring About These Responses?

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Introduction

'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' How Does Stevenson Intend His Readers to Respond to 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'? What Methods Does He Use to Bring About These Responses? Robert Lewis (later changed to 'Louis') Stevenson was born in Edinburgh November 13th 1850, into an engineering family. Although he had been plagued with illness all his life, after inheriting tuberculosis from his mother, he enrolled at Edinburgh University to study engineering, to follow in his successful father's footsteps. However he abandoned that road of studies and swapped to law, where he 'passed advocate,' although he had the education to practise law he did not follow that either, because by this time he had realised that he could and would write instead. To expand his horizons he would visit France in the summer to be within the company of other artists, both painters and writers. And his first publication was called 'Roads,' which was within a series of publications, all works about travelling. His first truly successful piece was 'Treasure Island' released in 1883, which truly launched his career. Later in 1886 he released 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' which was also a huge success, as it was so controversial and faced things that most people were too scared to write about. ...read more.

Middle

It also makes the reader want to know Jekyll's secrets, because although it says that his secrets are not as bad as Hyde's, the bluntness of this statement implies that Jekyll's secrets are very deep and very dark indeed. Throughout the story Stevenson uses a lot of references to dark and light. Especially when Dr Jekyll is thinking about Hyde or when Hyde is being the main point of interest. Stevenson made a point of Hyde only coming out at night, in the dark, reflecting Hyde's personality and nature. Hyde was like the dark side of the moon, the side the most people are ignorant about, the side that no one sees. An example of this is "And with that he blew out his candle," Utterson says this immediately after talking about Hyde. By having so many links to darkness and Mr Hyde the reader will create a dislike for him, even without a description of him, from Utterson and Enfield. Another interpretation of the uses of light and dark could say that the light represents knowledge and dark represents ignorance. As previously said Hyde is only mentioned at night, in the dark, with this opinion the reason would be because we, as the reader, knew little about Hyde. ...read more.

Conclusion

The stress of this in his mind may have been what convinced Jekyll to resort to the experiment, or drugs, which is what it may have represented, to escape from the normal formalities of his life, as a respectable member of society, a point of release. It implies that most middle-upper class people led a very sheltered life, oblivious to the true character of the society of London/Edinburgh at the time, just like they are oblivious to them selves. On the surface they come across as very respectable, well mannered and well presented. For those that hear about London or Edinburgh, it seems to be very posh, and perhaps glamorous, but for those who know it better, they know that it is full of back alleys, secrets and dirty dealings. Much like the life of Jekyll/Hyde, no one really knows Hyde, the backstreets, the dirty dealings, and no one really wants to and so stay away, but everyone can see Jekyll, and can see that he is perfectly 'normal'. Stevenson definitely deliberately included this as a comparison for readers to consider and think about, and for them to realise that it isn't just one person that has a split personality, good and bad sides, but we are all infected with it. ...read more.

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