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Stevenson was Writing more than a Straightforward Horror Story - Discuss

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Stevenson was Writing more than a Straightforward Horror Story - Discuss In The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson not only captured his audience in a gripping horror/mystery story, but also conveyed a hidden message towards the Victorian readers. He attacks the Victorian standards and hypocritical tendencies subliminally in the novella. The story follows the events experienced by Mr Utterson, a quiet respected lawyer as delves into a world of mystery and darkness as he endeavours to discover the secret behind the enigmatic Mr Hyde. Through Utterson's experiences through the novella we are able to discover false truths and are forced to draw out own conclusions to the story write up to the end of the story. In the opening chapter, the story is opened with Utterson and Enfield taking a leisurely stroll through Soho, when they come across a peculiar basement door, which triggers Enfield to recount a strange event that took place on that street. In this first chapter Stevenson creates an environment of extreme gothic style and suspense, employing the dark, foggy, silent roads to achieve these qualities. It also takes place in the winter, the time of year when it is the coldest, darkest and quietest. These are all gothic elements used throughout the story. ...read more.


Stevenson makes us think that he looks like an animal or some more primitive form of human by using such imagery as "hissing intake of breath", he is however directly described as being small in stature. Quickly after Hyde leaves Utterson in the courtyard, Stevenson again emphasizes that Hyde's likeness to animals, giving us a feeling of fear, as he is something that we don't understand, we fear him, although he does seem inferior. When we come to chapter four we come across Hyde's most evil act yet as we read of how Hyde battered and trampled a man to death spontaneously, to such an extent that he was barely recognizable, using a cane. The cane in this chapter is an important symbol as canes (or a staffs) are usually associated with power, therefore indicating that Hyde is a powerful being and that because of his evil nature, he becomes even more terrifying for us to imagine. Another key symbol is that fog that consumes London, creating suspense and mystery in the story once again. The iron bars on the window of his house are an important symbol as well, as this make it seem as if Jekyll has imprisoned himself in his own house, this indicates a lack of self control, a fear that he has no say in what is happening. ...read more.


However Jekyll admits that this dark side does exist when he comes across his concoction, and when he becomes two different people, he begins to indulge in this new found skill as he is now able to be the respectable Henry Jekyll during the day, but at night he becomes the sinister Edward Hyde, and is able to take part in his inward lust yet defend his daily reputation. Contradiction is also shown in the physical appearance of both Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll is described as being a "smooth-faced man of fifty", he is also said to be tall in stature though Hyde is described as being "disfigured" and "dwarfish", making out that the good side that is Jekyll is more attractive both physically and also a more attractive person to be, whereas Hyde is repulsive, both physically and also as somebody to be. This reflects on Stevenson himself as he had first hand experience of these activities as he too lived the double life that many of the middle class Victorian men did. The Strange Case of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde is more than a standard horror story. Stevenson used his skill as a writer to incorporate a simple yet powerful message in a gripping yet horrifying novella, and created one of the most controversial pieces of his time. The message put across and publicly exposed the Victorian double standards and double lives, appalling the public whilst entertaining them successfully. Curtis Anderson 10s English Coursework Mrs Spilsbury ...read more.

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