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Is ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ a detective story, a horror story or a gothic story?

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Introduction

Is 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' a detective story, a horror story or a gothic story? A typical detective story usually includes a male detective who has to solve a crime using clues and evidence he finds during the novel. The crime is nearly always solved by the end or at the very end of the novel. A horror story is written to scare and unsettle the reader. It usually has a supernatural element included in the story, and is almost always set at night time. Horror stories are usually set in far away countries like Transylvania or Romania, where vampires and demons are supposed to live. Gothic stories are also written to unsettle the reader, but the writer uses more suspense and mystery to achieve this. 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' could be seen as a detective story. There is an investigator, Mr Utterson, who uses clues to solve the mysterious doings of Mr Hyde, and the strange things that are happening to his friend Dr Jekyll. But unlike most detective stories Mr Utterson does not actually find out the truth about his friend and Mr Hyde, it is Dr Jekyll who reveals the truth about what had been happening in the chapter "Henry Jekyll's full statement of the case". ...read more.

Middle

"A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table. Held on, staring with infected eye, gasping with open mouth. He seemed to swell - his face became suddenly black, and the features seemed to melt and alter." When the book was first published this transformation probably was seen as unnatural and that Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were as frightening as werewolves and vampires. To the modern reader the transformation is still disturbing but defiantly not scary. Usually in horror stories there is a lot of bloodshed and murder. This is not really the case in the novel, but there is one particularly gory scene. In 'The Carew Murder Case' The MP Sir Danvers Carew is beaten to death by Mr Hyde. "Mr Hyde went wild and clubbed him to the ground, with an apelike fury, he was trampling his victim underfoot." This scene is very extreme and shocks the reader. 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' also could be seen as a gothic story. The novel is built up with suspense and drama to the final chapter where there is the resolution. ...read more.

Conclusion

Having different narrators in the novel makes you look at the events in the book from different angles and makes it in some ways more alarming to read. It also helps the story to unfold gradually and builds up more suspense for the reader. 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is set in London. This is unusual for gothic stories, which are mainly set in far away countries. Having novels set in far away countries makes them less frightening to the reader, because they know that they will probably never visit these countries. Setting the novel in London made it seem more realistic and much more frightening to the reader, especially in 1886 when the book was first published. It almost seems as if the events in the book could be happening on your doorstep. In 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' there are elements of all three of these genres included in the novel. It is hard to say which genre the novel is most like. I think that the closest the novel is most is a gothic story. The novel includes doubles, mystery, suspense and secrets - the main features of gothic stories. ...read more.

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