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The presentation of individuals and society in the novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Introduction

English Literature Coursework Assignment: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson QUESTION- Choose two extracts from the novel and use them as a basis for your discussion of one of the following topics: 1. The ways in which places and settings are used in the novel; 2. The presentation of individuals and society in the novel; 3. Stevenson's methods of developing tension and a sense of horror in the novel. For the purposes of my analysis, I have chosen option two: The presentation of individuals and society in the novel. The two extracts that I have chosen for the analysis are: Utterson's first meeting with Mr. Hyde and his subsequent description of him (in the chapter The Search for Mr. Hyde) and an excerpt from the last chapter Henry Jekyll's full statement of the case. In this essay, I am going to discuss how Stevenson presents the individuals and the society in the novel. In order to make a clear interpretation, I am going to be using the novel as well as my background knowledge of the time and context in which the novel was set. I will also review Stevenson's experiences, which might have led to the creation of the story. Firstly, I will examine the society presented by Stevenson in this novel. ...read more.

Middle

if not by fair means than by foul - if not of your consent, then by brute force! Another key character in the novel is Dr. Lanyon. He is only thrust into action when Hyde goes to visit him. Stevenson heightens the drama of the story by not allowing Lanyon to confide his experiences to Utterson and the readers. The reader is made desperate to know what Lanyon refers to as: it could kill a man by its mere presence. The reader later gathers that he is referring to Hyde. After Lanyon watches Hyde transform to Jekyll, Lanyon's whole demeanour changes to a dying man, but he never reveals the cause for his sudden ill-health: I have had a shock and I shall never recover. It is a question of weeks... There could be two possible reasons why Lanyon doesn't reveal the truth; he may believe that by divulging the details he may tarnish the old friendship between himself and Dr. Jekyll. However, this reason doesn't seem very likely because the friendship between the two was long lost. Below is a perfect example, showing that the friendship is long gone (Jekyll's thoughts about Lanyon): ...that hide-bound pedant, Lanyon, at what he called my scientific heresies. The second simpler reason could be that, Lanyon believes even if he did divulge any details, people would not believe his claims. ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of that is when Jekyll refers to Hyde as him not I. From Jekyll's language it seems that Hyde is no longer a part of Jekyll but someone else. Finally, Jekyll explains that the character of Hyde is completely different; in a sense Jekyll lets Hyde do whatever he pleases, without the fear of consequences or society: ... the liberty, the comparative youth, the light step, leaping pulses and secret pleasures that I had enjoyed in the disguises of Edward Hyde. Thus, the position of Hyde in the novel is grotesque and mysterious. He stands apart from the rest of the society; he is ugly, disturbing and unlovable. So, Jekyll is able to enjoy two positions in the society, one being in the centre and the other being on the extreme edge. In conclusion, Stevenson conveys both his own rebelling and then escaping aspects in the novel. Stevenson rebelled by roaming the streets of Edinburgh at night and then escaped to Samoa. Stevenson also constructs the society to an odd proportion, by placing no women in it; this seems to reflect a classical hypocritical Victorian society. However, throughout the novel the atmosphere seems to be perfect for the Jekyll/Hyde situation and thus, makes the novel a fantastic read. WORD COUNT- 1, 689 ?? ?? ?? ?? ABHINAV SINGH 11 'G' BOSTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL CENTRE NO- 26310 ENGLISH COURSEWORK ...read more.

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