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How successfully does 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' use the conventions of horror genre

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Introduction

How successfully does 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' use the conventions of horror genre? Author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' in 1885. It is said that the idea for the novel came to Stevenson in a dream that he had, he then wrote the book within six days. Stevenson was frequently ill throughout his childhood meaning he spent a lot of time in bed reading stories this is where his extraordinary imagination came from. He was also fascinated by the story of Deacon Broody the man who was a cabinetmaker by day and a robber by night this is where he got the idea of the dual identity of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stevenson had a strict Christian background and grew up learning the clear difference between good and evil. As a student he used to rebel against his parents by visiting the seedy old streets of Edinburgh. On some occasions he even invented a false name so that there would be no consequences a bit like the character of Edward Hyde. In the Horror genre, rules have developed which are unsettling stories designed to frighten, panic and to invoke our hidden worst fears, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the novel Stevenson hints on the fact that there are two sides to every character, even the smaller less important characters show signs of having a two-sided nature. In chapter four 'The Carew Murder Case' there are many examples of this 'the policeman's eye lighted up with professional ambition' shows that the policeman is almost happy even though someone has just been savagely murdered to get the chance to work on such a big case. The description of Hyde's land lady 'she had an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy, but her manners were excellent' this shows that even though she looks cold and evil she can actually be polite and kind. In the novel Stevenson describes the acts and behaviour of Edward Hyde much like those of a young wild beast. The attack on the young girl 'of maybe eight or ten' is the first time we hear of Hyde and this gives the reader impression of him right away as after he trampled on the little girl he acted as if nothing had happened. In the horrific murder of Sir Danvers Carew 'an aged...gentleman' it is described that Hyde acted with an 'ape-like fury' making Hyde sound inhuman and almost prehistoric. The victims of the attacks that are mentioned in the novel, the trampling of the young girl and the brutal murder of Carew are as if the Hyde ...read more.

Conclusion

In some parts of the novel it is set in Jekyll's laboratory this creates a strange, spooky atmosphere as it conjures up the image of a dark place with cobwebs, electricity, potions and mad experiments. In conclusion I think the novel 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is good yet different to other horror stories in some ways, but I found this effective because even though Stevenson uses many traditional horror conventions he changes them slightly. Although it has many horror conventions it also has many symbolic parts to it the fact that Jekyll changes his name to Hyde is like he is trying to hide the fact that they are the same person. It also may fall into the category of being a mystery novel as we find out the plot of the story as Mr. Utterson unveils the clues until we find out the truth. I found that the description of Hyde being like some sort of ferocious beast was very effective as it conjures up an image in your head and almost makes the reader afraid of him even though he is a fictional character. Stevenson is also very secretive about the character of Jekyll as most of the novel of focused on the terrifying behaviour of Hyde all we know about him is that he is a well renowned doctor that is performing unorthodox experiments. ...read more.

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