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The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - "Discuss the importance of London in the novel".

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Introduction

Teacher: Paul Templeton, English Literature, Joshua Malina 22/11/03 The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - "Discuss the importance of London in the novel" In this novel there are several themes, however the theme of 'London' is one of which is key importance and significance. London is the setting of the story, and to an extent it is the foundation or basis from which the rest of the story evolves. The focus of the story is on the duality of Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll represents the everyday rational thinking, well-mannered, respectable middle class citizen. However, Hyde represents and symbolises the inner side to most humans, he is the evil inside of Jekyll. I noticed that there were hints to this at various stages in the novel, however I believe a key one is on page 31 where it says, "Now that the evil influence had been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr Jekyll." ...read more.

Middle

London is used as a foundation to the novel as is enables readers to feel a sense of emotion, tension and tone. This builds up the atmosphere and we get a feel for the mood and characters feelings as a result, for example on page 23 it says, " The dismal quarter of Soho seen under these changing glimpses... like a district of some city in a nightmare. This gives the reader a 'chilling' affect and allows them to almost feel as though they are present. This is a reflection on the dark and grim side of this huge city. A quote which shows Dr Jekyll had a reasonably good standard of living comes from page 16, " Round the corner from the bystreet, there was a square of ancient handsome houses..." a little further on it continues "at the door of this, which wore a great air of wealth and comfort". ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe that the author Robert Louis Stevenson used London as the setting of the story for a couple of reasons. I think that the first reason is that Stevenson was aware of Victorian London and what it was like. The second reason is because Stevenson knew that many people could relate to London as it is widely visited and talked about. This in affect is a writers 'tool', which helps to draw the reader into the novel. It also helps because it means that the writer does not have to 'set the scene' himself, it has already been done. Settings help to identify what the story is about, along with the way in which it is written. Overall I believe that London is a key element to this tremendous novel, and if the story was based on any other city I do not believe that it would have had the same impact on the readers. In conclusion London is the spine to this book, which helps emphatically because it gives a good base for the theme of duality, which another key part of the novel. ...read more.

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