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Jekyll & Hyde: Paying particular attention to Stevensons descriptions of the city at night, discuss how Stevenson uses descriptive passages to evoke a mood of dread.

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Introduction

Paying particular attention to Stevenson's descriptions of the city at night, discuss how Stevenson uses descriptive passages to evoke a mood of dread. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is written in a very factual, 'case-study' like way. Stevenson has done this to make the story seem true to life and to reflect the no-nonsense attitudes of the middle class men the story is about. However, this story line is interspersed with descriptive and elaborate sections that Stevenson has used to bring emotion to the story. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published as a 'Christmas "Bogey Tale" ' and so the idea of the story was to shock and horrify, but also entertain the readers. Stevenson uses these emotive sections of descriptive passage to evoke a mood of dread and terror in the readers that they would be looking for when reading the story. The terror in the story is accentuated because most of the 'action' takes place at night, where important themes in the story come into play to make the setting more ominous. For instance, the conjunction of fog and darkness can be very unnerving because it completely impairs one's ability to see. ...read more.

Middle

by Mr Utterson. The idea that the fog is suffocating the city, or drowning it in it's vapours is an emotive description that would evoke a mood of terror in the reader, because it is a horrible way to die. The war reference evokes a mood of dread in the reader because it could be associated with brutal killings that often occur in the war, which are chilling to think about. Street lighting was a relatively new concept revolutionised in London at the time that Jekyll and Hyde was written. Street lighting was supposed to reduce crime, but in actual fact having light twenty-four hours a day made crime levels worse, because it enabled the criminals to work more efficiently, and effectively. This is because they could see what they were doing as well as carry out the crime quicker and with more ease because they needn't trouble themselves with holding a lamp. Indeed street lighting was not received overly positively by the people of London, as is reflected in Jekyll and Hyde. The first time street lighting is mentioned it is when Enfield is describing his encounter with Mr Hyde in the first chapter: "A part of town where there was literally nothing to be seen but lamps. ...read more.

Conclusion

In his descriptions of the city, Stevenson sometimes personifies the city at night to make it a living being around the characters: "London hummed solemnly all around" (Page 43, 'The Last Night'). This gives the reader a very good image of a city at night, with all the individual sounds coming together to create one hum, and maybe everything coming together to become one creature. This technique creates a frightening setting because if the whole city is alive at night, there is nowhere to hide from it. Stevenson describe the town's life as "still rolling in through the [city's] great arteries" (Page 28, 'Incident of the Letter') This is implying that the city is a living giant, and gives a vivid and chilling image of the whole city being a big monster with all the people in the town running through it's "great arteries". The reference to blood and the inside of a body would intensify the gory aspect of the monster and is also linked to the biological advances in science that were taking place in other cities, for example Edinburgh, as to how the human body was working. ...read more.

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