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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 4368 words

How Stevenson uses his techniques as a writer to present character and atmosphere in 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyd

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

How Stevenson uses his techniques as a writer to present character and atmosphere in 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by the young Robert Louis Stevenson was published in 1886. The story, which concerns the way in which an individual is made up of different emotions and desires, some good and some evil is told from the point of view of John Utterson. Mr Utterson is a lawyer and friend to the respected and brilliant scientist, Dr. Henry Jekyll. After relating a disturbing tale of an angry fiend assaulting a small girl, Utterson begins to question the odd behaviour of his friend. As Mr Utterson investigates and is entangled further into the life of Dr. Jekyll, he uncovers a story so horrific, so terrifying, that he is shocked. In the final chapter, Jekyll confesses in a full statement, that he has led a double life, his researches into separating his personality into good and evil, and the gradual ascendancy of evil and monstrous Mr Hyde over hypocritical Dr Jekyll. This transformation though, one day becomes involuntary and Jekyll is unable to reverse it because he has run out of the original batch of special chemical solutions. As the truth is about to surface, tragic events occur that end the whole situation dramatically and decisively. The themes which Robert Louis Stevenson addresses in his novel 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' include, right versus wrong, joy versus despair, good versus evil, science versus God and morality versus immorality. In the late Georgian and the Victorian era in Britain, people were fascinated by ideas of birth and re birth, death and the after life, creation versus Darwinism, as well as religion and evolution. Darwinism was Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory that humans were essentially animals, this assumption shocked the Victorians. They were especially fascinated by the idea that each person has somewhere in the world a double or a twin.

Middle

In addition, Hyde is probably a suitable name for this man, as he evidently wants to 'hide'. We wonder how Mr Utterson knows who Mr Hyde is. The clue is in the will; Dr Jekyll's will was kept in Utterson's most private part of his safe. The will stated that all Jekyll's possessions were to be passed into the hands of his 'friend and benefactor Edward Hyde.' The mystery deepens, Mr Utterson knows something and we want to find out. I think that the Victorians would want to hear what happens in the next chapter considering they received the novel in instalments, equally though because it's suspenseful, mysterious and explores suggestions of science which would have threatened humanist values. Gothic literature, is known to many as a gloomy, horror story set in a castle or monastery, with touches of the supernatural. For example Bram Stokers 'Dracula' is a story about a vampire. There are many elements of Gothic literature; examples would be fear of the unknown, a character we fear and a male saviour. The character we fear is Mr Hyde but once we find out Mr Hyde is Dr Jekyll, we could fear both of them. The male saviour is Mr Utterson. Furthermore scientific knowledge is the key element of Gothic, as well as the significant derelict house and secrecy of the continuing mystery. Elements which will appear are time shift techniques which at the end of the book you will realise as Dr Jekyll writes his confession to all his scientific experiments. What's more there is a transformation within this book, a transformation this involves Dr Jekyll turning into the monster that is Mr Hyde using a chemical solution. This is something which should have been left to God not Dr Jekyll. It is a question of faith and morality but there is throughout a good versus evil power. Commenting on chapter two, the setting of the scene is quite gloomy, Mr Utterson is a bachelor like all the other main characters

Conclusion

I have come to the conclusion that Stevenson uses his techniques as a writer to present character and atmosphere in 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by using language in interesting and diverse way in the story which looks at the duality of good and evil. Stevenson brings the possibility of another self in one person to life. He uses three narrators in the book to depict the tale of Dr. Jekyll, a respected, very "good" doctor who creates an alter ego of himself -- in the form of Mr. Hyde. Stevenson uses his own personal experiences into a story that shocked the Victorian era and received some negative reviews. Even he called it 'a fine bogey tale' but Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde educated the era in a way no one could have predicted. Stevenson was on withdrawal from cocaine for his Tuberculosis before and during the time of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he was on withdrawal from it so this meant he had the effects of hallucinations, sweating and most defiantly some craziness and bad dreams. His cocaine withdrawal and his concealed double life - his religious beliefs and his career path - from his parents were certainly a basis for this chilling and mysterious tale. The atmosphere Stevenson creates his mysterious. The technique I noticed he used was that of simply describing particular places, emotion or even a characters thoughts, they stand out in your mind and you have an vivid picture of what he is describing and the effect it has on the story. Stevenson also changes his language, differing from one narrator to another. Jekyll's narration is different from Mr Uttersons. Stevenson changes the language to fit each character's personality. Overall, I think that Stevenson wrote something which was personal to him and it's a legend in itself. The atmosphere and characters which Stevenson has created are a fundamental creative mystery which continues to amaze the reader. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Jennifer Allen

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