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How is the paranormal made to seem normal? 'Jekyll and Hyde', a gothic novella, uses lots of realism to try to make the story believable. In 'Portobello Road' as well as absolute realism, the conversational style of story telling helps the reader believe.

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Introduction

By Andrew Swale How is the paranormal made to seem normal? 'Jekyll and Hyde', a gothic novella, uses lots of realism to try to make the story believable. In 'Portobello Road' as well as absolute realism, the conversational style of story telling helps the reader believe. In the stories, different styles of language are incorporated. In 'Jekyll and Hyde' a very formal vernacular is used and journalese and legalese are also used whereas in 'Portobello Road' a much more modern vernacular is used and although it is a ghost story, it is set in modern London, in broad daylight. This is unusual because most ghost stories of that era were set in castles, haunted houses and graveyards. The authoress has set an extra task for herself by doing this. Muriel Stark uses documentary evidence, for instance letters, to encourage the reader to believe, as well as telling the story as a friend in a modern, relaxed vernacular. ...read more.

Middle

We also relate to her bitchiness to Kathleen. When she sees her friend Kathleen ageing and she herself is not, she says, "Poor Kathleen- I hate to say how she looked." Though she says this, she is probably secretly enjoying it, as most women would. The environment also plays a big part in both stories, adding to the realism as well as the believability and the understanding. Both are set in London, the capital of the known world, and both mention certain items to their advantage. In 'Jekyll and Hyde' we see Soho and Cavendish Square mentioned, as well as Georgian streets, houses, doors, gas lamps and the chiming of bells, all of which add to the realism. In 'Portobello Road', we hear mention of jolly painted villas, Portobello Road market (a most unusual setting for a ghost story), Kent and of foreign countries such as Zimbabwe. Characters also make a huge impact on the understanding and believability of a story. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bram Stoker brought 'Dracula' to Whitby moor, but in 'Jekyll and Hyde', the monster is not just near us, it is inside of us. There is a moral in both stories; in 'Portobello Rd' the moral is that George pays for the death of Needle by cracking up. In 'Jekyll and Hyde' the moral is that unrestrained reliance on science could be dangerous, or it is the battle between black and grey. After reading the books, I enjoyed 'Portobello Road' more. I found it more easily believable. I think this was because of the modern, conversational language used and the fact that it was nearer my time zone. Viewed in a 19th century context, 'Jekyll and Hyde' is also believable, but I didn't find it as convincing. I enjoyed both stories and I think the style and the language contribute to these two totally different stories in a big way. After reading both, I have realised we don't need chemicals to change from good to evil, we all have an evil side, but it is only exposed when encouraged. ...read more.

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