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Robert Louis Stevenson was born November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland Throughout his childhood, he suffered chronic health

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Robert Louis Stevenson was born November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland throughout his childhood; he suffered chronic health problems that confined him to bed. He lived in constant fear of death and some people believe that this was where he got his grim outlook on life from. The strongest influence during his childhood was that of his nurse, Allison Cunningham, who often read aloud Pilgrim's Progress and The Old Testament, his most direct literary influences during this time. Originally he did not intend to be an author, his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become an architect. He lived in Edinburgh for most of his life; it was split into two, both sides played a part in molding his personality and outlook. On one hand was the New Town, respectable, upstanding, deeply religious, and polite. On the other was a much more bohemian Edinburgh, symbolised by brothels and shadiness. The juxtaposition of the two aspects in contrast to each other made a deep impression and strengthened his fascination with the duality of human nature, later providing the theme for 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'. Throughout the history of the book critics have struggled to choose the genre in which the book falls. The most popular opinion is that it is a Gothic novel and lies alongside Frankenstein and Dracula. Like these books Stevenson put most of the events in the book happening during the night to give it a 'gloomy' feel. ...read more.


I think that Stevenson is trying to show how in society no one is perfect even those who appear to be. Lanyon symbolises the majority of the Victorian society who hide from the truth and refuse to face up to the beast in man and the divided self. He believes so strongly that everything is good and respectable, that when he comes face to face with the truth about Jekyll and Hyde, he dies. In my opinion he is a typical man from the Victorian times. The moral code of the society with which they were to live by, protected him so much, when he found out the truth about everybody having an evil side within them, he felt he couldn't live any longer. His respectable world comes crashing down and he's forced to face up to the hypocrisy of his life. Dr Jekyll is described as a prominent middle-age doctor. 'A large well made, smooth faced man of fifty with something of a slyish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness.' He is also very rich. He is described as well respected and proper. This was a not always true, as throughout the novel we subtly witness his hypocritical behavior, something that Stevenson claimed was Jekyll�s fatal flaw. He believed that within every person their were to different sides, good and evil, this lead him to experiment on how to separate the two. ...read more.


'The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles.' This technique of pathetic fallacy symbolises Utterson's fears about Jekyll and his link to the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. The final technique I am going to explore, which helps us to understand the central themes is the structure of the novel. The major theme of the book is to explore good versus evil, and the dual nature of human beings, so to add authenticity to the story Stevenson uses multiple perspectives. In the beginning chapters to set the scene Stevenson narrates the story as a third person, for example he describes the 'door which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker,' of the house in which Hyde lives. The Carew murder case was told as third person, but also had a detailed account from the maid who saw it all out of her window to make the tale more believable. In the chapter, 'The Last Night,' Poole the butler gives his account of the Jekyll and Hyde story, which gives the reader an insight into different characters and their personalities. And the final points of view are from Dr Lanyon and Jekyll's letters. I think that both these letters give the reader a chance to be a 'detective' and piece together he two stories and find a constant theme. It also makes it seem more believable and less bias if it is written by two different people. ?? ?? ?? ?? Al Barnes ...read more.

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