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How Does the Setting Contribute to the Suspense and Atmosphere in “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”?

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Introduction

How Does the Setting Contribute to the Suspense and Atmosphere in "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"? According to the New Edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Suspense is defined as being the following: "Suspense- state of usu. anxious uncertainty or expectation or waiting for information." According to that same dictionary, the definition of Atmosphere is the following: "Atmosphere- mental or moral environment esp. artistic or emotional; pervading tone or mood, esp. attractive one; air (in any place), esp. w. ref. to effects on those present." The definition of Setting according to the New Edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary is: "Setting- environment" The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is set in Nineteenth Century London. Therefore the setting or environment was a largely Victorian one. This would involve the lack of any motorised vehicles and at night gas lamps would light the streets. London would have had a very defined poverty line, which meant large and noticeable differences between rich and poor. The buildings and streets would be very much in the style as shown below in this picture of Victorian London: The above picture of Tottenham Court Road, in the late nineteenth century, illustrates very well what the average London street would have looked like at the time of the story. ...read more.

Middle

The author has used it to emphasise the feeling of being swept brutally along by a powerful force beyond our control. Even the moon itself appears to have tilted and changed its appearance, with the cutting wind inflicting pain on the few pedestrians brave enough to venture abroad. His deliberate use of the word "passengers" reinforces the feeling for the reader that they too are on a journey travelling into the unknown, where evil and danger lurk. The reader is now filled with foreboding and slight uneasiness due to the unpredictability (like the weather itself) of what might happen next On page fifty-four, there is another good example of how weather can play a large and important part in the setting of a story, helping to develop a particular atmosphere. "The square, when they got there, was all full of wind and dust, and the thin trees in the garden were lashing themselves along the railing." The reference to the weather is vital to the image of the scene. Suffocating dust pollutes the air and the railings are cage-like, preventing escape. The thin, malnourished trees give the impression that they are punishing themselves, whilst at the same time seeking refuge against the elements. ...read more.

Conclusion

This all helps to create suspense, and the reader wonders what awful things are behind that door, and what it is hiding? The use of these kinds of allegories build up tension and adds some mystery to the story, thus making the reader want to continue in order to find out what happens. All these elements, the weather, the buildings, the colours and the people, play a vital part in the setting of a scene or event. The examples that I have given, demonstrate that all of these factors can play a role in creating the atmosphere and suspense within a story. Certain word combinations can cause the reader to experience many different emotions. Therefore by using these word combinations, the writer can encourage the reader to think what he or she wants them to think. In this way atmosphere and suspense are intentionally created through the setting, to suit what the writer wants the reader to think. In the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, these methods have proved to be essential to developing the storyline. Therefore I can successfully conclude that the setting in the story of "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" contributes to the atmosphere and suspense in a major and very effective way. ...read more.

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