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What do you find interesting and significant in Stevenson's use of settings?

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What do you find interesting and significant in Stevenson's use of settings? This novella was written and set in the Victorian period where strict religious and moral codes led to people repressing their darker sides or indulging in them secretly. I think that in this novella Stevenson is satirising Victorian hypocrisy by using Jekyll as a prime example of a Victorian hypocrite, good in his public image but secretly indulging in his dark desires. Thus, this novella is all about duality. Twenty-five years before Stevenson wrote 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', Charles Darwin brought out the book 'On the Origin of Species'. The Victorians were shocked by this theory not easily accepting the idea that humans were descended from apes. Stevenson was very influenced by Darwin's book. This is shown again and again when Stevenson makes reference to Hyde's animalistic personality 'The other (Hyde) snarled aloud into a savage laugh'. The settings in this book are all very eerie and create an uneasy sense, thus the novella fits the horror genre as well as being a detective story. The novella has a dark atmosphere where the truth seems hidden and mysterious. Stevenson uses the back entrance, to what we later realise is Jekyll's property, as a very powerful setting bringing in the theme of duality through the imagery. Firstly the back entrance to, what we initially think is Hyde's house, doesn't have any windows, 'It was two storeys high; showed no ...read more.


door of this, which wore a great air of wealth and comfort, though it was now plunged in the darkness' is a very interesting one as it is though Jekyll's house is getting darker and darker as Hyde becomes more prominent in him. It could also represent the fact that the rest of the street have pursued darker things, and that Jekyll is the next in line and the darkness is gradually taking him over. The exterior setting of Carew's murder and Soho is one of the most powerful settings in the whole novella. The fog, 'the first fog of the season', that is all over Soho could represent the mystery of this story and that everything is still very much unclear. The fog could also symbolise that Jekyll is hiding. When Stevenson writes that 'occasionally patches of light shine through the fog' it signifies that there is still some light left, but not much. The mass of fog also creates a sense of foreboding, as there is so much fog that it is almost impossible to overcome. Stevenson also puts that 'the fog is swirling around like wreaths'. This is significant as wreaths are laid at funerals thus underlining that someone has just been killed, but could also foreshadow further death. Stevenson uses an excellent image as he shows that there is a battle between the wind (which is trying to make the light come through) ...read more.


On the other hand, there are a lot of bad aspects about his room; it has been 'hurriedly ransacked', there are clothes on the floor with 'pockets inside out', there are drawers open, there's a pile of ashes where papers have been burned and half the stick that was used to murder Carew. These evil aspects show that the truth is finally starting to come out. It could also show that the Hyde inside Jekyll is starting to come out and dominate. I think that this novella would have been a disturbing read for Victorian readers as I think that many of them could see themselves as Jekyll as some Victorians led double lives just like him. I think that the most disturbing and descriptive piece of text is the Carew murder setting as there is so much imaginative description in it and Stevenson uses some brilliant imagery in this setting for example 'A great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven, but the wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours'. I think that Stevenson is saying that there is a Hyde inside everyone and that everyone has a darker side but I think that this novella was mainly a message to the Victorians as they led double lives just like Jekyll. I think that the main message he is trying to get across is that if you let your dark side get too strong then it could lead to your downfall. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mark Prentice-Whitney 10T ...read more.

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