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AS and A Level: Robert Louis Stevenson

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  • Peer Reviewed essays 2
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" - the Victorians view of the novel

    3 star(s)

    Another thing that Stevenson referred to is the Faust legend from the fifteenth century. Dr Jekyll gives Dr Lanyon a choice, very much similar to Faust's. Faust drove himself so hard that the Devil appeared and gave him the choice, to stay normal and behold the restrictions of humanity, or he could have all the power and knowledge that he ever wanted, but at a price. At the end of twenty-four years Faust would lose his soul to the Devil.

    • Word count: 706
  2. Peer reviewed

    Why would a Victorian reader find "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" shocking yet fascinating?

    4 star(s)

    Jekyll manipulates science to resurface the dual identity of man, only God should be able to do this, Jekyll is going against his god and dwells on the thought of committing suicide to get rid of Hyde, a Victorian reader would find this shocking because almost all Victorian people at this time were devout Christians and committing suicide was against the laws of the church and even the thought of someone committing suicide was shocking to a Victorian. Also the ongoing debate between the church and scientists about Darwin's theory of evolution surfaces in Jekyll and Hyde, this is a case of Religion vs.

    • Word count: 1215
  3. Peer reviewed

    To what extent can 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' be viewed as a 'gothic novel'

    4 star(s)

    This quote describes the vision of the scientist looking at the monster he created. The images in this quote evokes some of the key gothic themes, such as the horrific unnaturalness of the monster. Jekyll and Hyde match most of the criteria needed to produce and traditional gothic novel, Stevenson builds up tension and keeps the reader gripped by including certain things in the novel. Firstly mysterious violence keep the readers well gripped. "the man trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground." This statement shocks the reader because it is hard to think of an adult that would knock down a young girl then trample over her body.

    • Word count: 1412
  4. Explore the range of narrative techniques used in Jekyll and Hyde

    The narrator of the story is Utterson, he is also the main character and he creates a third person perspective. However, there are many more people that have their say and that contribute to the story, as well as documents and statements for the reader to take into consideration; such as witness accounts, wills and instructions. By making the reader analyse these key features Stevenson is trying to get the reader more involved in the text; also, the style of writing gives the impression that you are in a court case with several sides to the story coming from many different peoples' perspectives.

    • Word count: 1394
  5. With particular reference to the construction of Mr Hyde, discuss how portrayal of the character places the novella into the Gothic Horror genre.

    Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde fits into this mould of a Gothic Horror story perfectly, and this is largely down to the construction and portrayal of the character of Mr Edward Hyde; the evil half of Dr Jekyll's personality. Stevenson introduces the theme of their being two sides to everybody's personality with his opening description of Mr Utterson. Stevenson begins by creating a negative impression of the lawyer, that he is "of a rugged countenance" and that he is "never lighted by a smile".

    • Word count: 2876
  6. How does Stevenson create fear for the reader in the opening chapters of the novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'?

    A old dark dangerous London is a good setting for fear and action. London's scenery was full of medieval and run down neglected buildings. During the day London's streets are usually busy and booming with business although this novels settings is mainly set during the night early hours of the cold winters morning. back in these days streets were dark and the mortality rates were high. During the day the rough streets are shadowed by aged blistered and distained buildings, but in the dead of night these are hidden as there is nothing to be seen but lamps this creates fear and mystery not knowing what lurks behind the thick wall of darkness.

    • Word count: 1466
  7. Discuss the aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel that make it a horror story showing awareness of particular social, historical and cultural influences

    High crime rate is relevant to the novel because of Mr Hyde committing crimes. Medical breakthroughs are appropriate to the novel because of Dr Jekylls experiment splitting good from evil. 'People being scared of the unknown' is relevant because no one knew much about Mr Hyde. Tension is built effectively in chapter 2 of the novel from the section that begins "Six o'clock struck the bells". This section also shows a lot of gothic horror elements. In this section of text there are many words that build tension. Building tension is important in a horror novel because it makes people want to read on, creates suspense and makes you think something is about to happen.

    • Word count: 1736
  8. Robert Mighall describes 'The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde' as 'more than just a shilling shocker'

    Hyde lacks a conscience, which Christianity teaches every human has. Jekyll detaches himself not only from Hyde, but Jekyll as well by talking in the third person; 'The powers of Hyde seemed to have grown with the sickliness of Jekyll'. Stevenson explores in depth the duality of human nature. Jekyll says that 'man is not truly one but truly two', but took it upon himself to separate the two sides of man through Scientific experiments, and create a being that represented his evil self, his 'lower element'. This shows how behind the respectable exterior of the new Victorian middle classes, there was a more sinister, evil world that had to be hidden.

    • Word count: 1569
  9. Chapter 4 in 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is one of the novels most significant points

    The fact that the chapter is titled as a 'murder case' also has a substantial part to play in moulding the language and tone of it, this can be seen by the sudden change to the more objective third person narrative making it appear more distanced and impersonal. All of this coupled with the quasi-legal type style of writing and the detective case style which consists of specific dates, concise and dense with information, formal and an eyewitness account which acts as evidence makes the chapter somewhat detached from the novel and places greater importance upon it.

    • Word count: 1866
  10. Consider atmosphere and setting in the 19th century stories you have read, and discuss how the authors have created fear and atmosphere.

    Gothic stories never included very many characters, this was a way of keeping the story not only short but also more frightening as it is always scarier when you are on your own or in groups of two or three rather than a large group. The Victorian era is famous for its fascination with death and the gruesome. The Victorians believed that people had a "good" death surrounded by their families, having made their peace with god and resigned themselves to their "fate" or a "bad" death, which was sudden.

    • Word count: 6559
  11. Explore the Significance of the Character Edward Hyde and the Way he is perceived by Readers in Dr

    Jekyll is upper class and if anyone found out that he was associated with Mr Hyde, who was the lowest of the lower class then he would lose all his respect he had gained. Jekyll creates Hyde because he wants to fulfil his needs to be wrong and do things that he couldn't do as his normal self. He was fond of things that society didn't approve of and was tired of hiding in his real personality. This suggests that the class system in Victorian was very wide; there were strict rules for upper class and hardly any rules for the lower class.

    • Word count: 1164
  12. How effective is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a Gothic narrative?

    The quotation explains that, although the by street did once look nice and well cared for it is now old looking and decayed. The setting in this part of the book can be compared to the gargoyles on the buildings in the Hunch Back of Notre Dame. Now I will consider the element of character. In gothic narratives it is not all about what they do, it is how the author describes them. The comparison that pops to my mind when I think of a gothic character is a big, shadowy, ugly, evil, killing monster, just like Hyde!

    • Word count: 982
  13. To what extent can "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" be defined as Gothic Literature?

    Many other such novels were produced in this tradition, including other works by Stevenson, such as "The Body Snatchers" and "Olalla." From the very start this story was noticed to be different from other such novels, far more subtle, disturbing and complex in some ways, whilst when it is stripped to the basics it is just about the conflict between good and evil, a concept almost as old as time. I will now begin to compare aspects of this book with other famous works of Gothic and horror fiction.

    • Word count: 750
  14. How doesStevenson use the gothic novel to explore the nature of good and evil in "thestrange case of doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde"?

    One of the features of a gothic novel used is the haunted house. Authors of gothic novels use a character's house to reflect the characters psychological manner. In this story Jekyll's house is described as being "grand and having an air of wealth and comfort". This mimics Jekyll's personality as he is portrayed for the reader," a large, well-made, smooth-faced man". The description "smooth-faced man" gives the impression that he is not only hiding his age but also the secrets that come with age.

    • Word count: 1101
  15. Gothic Short Stories

    This makes the reader want to continue to find out how the title actually relates to the story. The Body-Snatcher immediately gives images of mystery, graveyards, bodies and moonlight. This gives the title a spooky and mysterious touch, which is vital for a gothic story as it gets the reader interested in what the story is about so they want to read more and more. This is a very effective gothic story title. The Adventure of the Speckled Band's title sets up what the story is about, although the use of "Adventure" is very uncommon in gothic short story titles, "the Speckled Band" links in with the key clue given to Sherlock Holmes (the main character)

    • Word count: 1679
  16. "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." - review

    Jekyll is described as tall and handsome throughout the book. He is very well known, and is also very rich indeed. He believes in man having two sides, a good, and a bad. He wants to find out how to separate the two personalities and uses himself to show this. Dr Jekyll, the well respected, good natured man, and Mr Hyde the more primitive and "ape like" of the two. Mr Hyde is also referred to as "simian" and "hairy." He is considerably smaller than Jekyll and is therefore looked upon as lower in the evolutionary scale.

    • Word count: 1431
  17. Explore Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the Body Snatchers as both gothic and mysterious texts.

    one individual, this theory was not supported by the beliefs they had, unlike today where the possibility of a split personality is not unknown or unthinkable. This was until a social scientist, James Hogg introduced the concept of the individual psyche = externalisation verses internalisation, the second self. It is from this theory that 'doppleganger' originates from, In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Stevenson introduces this theory into 19th Century literature where Dr Jekyll is the good, which from Hogg's theory says is controlled by the right side of the brain and Mr Hyde is the evil character, which according

    • Word count: 4307
  18. The author not only wrote this novel to present his views on human personality but also because he wanted to shock contemporary readers out of their complacency. Show how parts of Jekyll and Hyde read as a horror story

    At this early description of suspense and horror the reader has a sense of the type of character of Mr Hyde and the tension is built up throughout the novel. A reader will have a sense of anticipated horror and repulsion every time they read about him, knowing what he is capable of. This qualifies the novel to be in the horror genre. Another example of violence and horror is where Sir Danvers Carew is brutally murdered: "And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger.

    • Word count: 1309
  19. Discuss Stevenson's representation of evil and the concept of duality in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. How was Stevenson influenced by the concerns of his Era?

    I am led to believe this as his nurse used to scare him greatly with threats about what god would do to him if he didn't do the moral thing. When Jekyll and Hyde was written, Gothic literature was very popular. Stevenson may have been influenced by the book Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley, as this uses a lot of gothic terminology this type of literature is still popular today and has had many famous Gothic novels preceeding this. "I held the corpse of my dead mother in my hand" This is a very strong use of gothic language.

    • Word count: 968
  20. Discuss the insight which 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' gives the reader into Victorian society.

    The story shows three different genres, detective story, horror story and gothic novella. Gothic novella became a very popular genre as other gothic novellas were written at this time, including 'Dracula' and 'Frankenstein'. The reasons gothic novellas became increasingly popular within the Victorian era this is because the fear of advances in science this is shown in the story. Also the fear of foreign or exotic elements taking over the mind and spreading doubt over a religion. Many motiveless murders occurred in the Victorian era this meant huge interest in detective cases meaning that the book would have sold many more copies.

    • Word count: 1101
  21. Compare and contrast the presentation and development of the gothic genre, over the past hundred or so years.

    Yet even novels written a hundred years apart can have similarities. It is on these two observations that I commence my essay. The setting of the novels is the first point I'd like to think about. The first of the nineteenth century novels, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, is set in, "a sinister block of building," which is the abode of one of the main characters. It is a blemish upon the street that "shone out in contrast to its dingy neighbourhood." In the novel Frankenstein, the creation of Frankenstein's monster takes place in, " a solitary chamber ... at the top of the house ... separated from all other apartments."

    • Word count: 1688
  22. How effectively does Stevenson create a sense of horror through his descriptions of settings and characters in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

    The Setting in the novella is mostly in fog, dark grim and dangerous conditions. This can relate to Stevenson's real life experiences when he used to walk home in the dark in the old town of Edinburgh that was also very derelict and also dangerous. The idea of using potions could have come from before he wrote the novella when he was very poorly with three days of haemorrhaging and nightmares, he was surrounded with lots of bottles for medicine also the curtains would have been rarely opened as he was spending all of the day in his bed.

    • Word count: 943
  23. To what extent can Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Jamaica Kincaid's Ovando be classified as Postcolonial Gothic texts?

    He finds it impossible to feel comfortable in Jamaica and it is Antoinette's equivalent inability to understand England that forms a barrier between the couple. The gulf between their different backgrounds and upbringings is particularly evident through this conversation and it becomes increasingly clear that Rochester sees Antoinette as alien and inaccessible to him: 'I felt very little tenderness for her, she was a stranger to me, a stranger who did not think or feel as I did.' (78)

    • Word count: 4106
  24. The Body Snatcher - R. L. Stevenson (1881).

    Stevenson writes the story so that the beginning is at the end of the story. He writes the story so that the storyteller tells he story like the narrator is a watcher over Fettes and Macfarlane and also a listener in the inn. Fettes was a student at a medical school of Anatomy in Edinburgh. Macfarlane was another student in the same medical school. When Fettes hears that Macfarlane is in the inn, Fettes jumps up in shook. 'Fettes became instantly sober: his eyes awoke.'

    • Word count: 700
  25. Gothic Art.

    The architecture used is what best defines Gothic, by this is what starts the movement. The two basic elements of the architecture are the pointed arches and the vaults made of many pointed arches. If Romanesque art is a classic art, the Gothic for me would be considered an extravagant, passionate, and romantic art. For that reason I believe that it is one of the favorites in the 19th century. The Gothic architecture is much more complicated than the Romanesque, this is probably because the period was full of religious competition and very fine materials.

    • Word count: 852

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent can 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' be viewed as a 'gothic novel'

    "To conclude this essay, I believe Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic novel, my reasons for this are; Jekyll and Hyde follow the patterns of tradition gothic novels but even though there are a lot of connections there are some differences; the setting of the novel does not follow the elements of a gothic novel as it is not set in a remote place or a castle, also there is no ancient prophecy or a promethean hero in this novel. On a whole I believe Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic novel as it follows many elements that are used in gothic novels. I believe it was a successful gothic novel and it would be well received by people today but more so by Victorian readers as it would have been seen as more frightening then, as it was set around the Victorian times."

  • To what extent can Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Jamaica Kincaid's Ovando be classified as Postcolonial Gothic texts?

    "In conclusion, it is clear to see that these texts can be defined as postcolonial gothic. As postcolonial texts, they also possess many of the distinguishing features of gothic texts. The aptness of the gothic genre as a means of reiterating colonial pasts is evident throughout, as the horror and disruption that it conveys so well is symbolic of the anxiety and heartache that the process of colonisation created for those people ensnared in its progression."

  • Discuss the insight which 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' gives the reader into Victorian society.

    "In conclusion the novel shows great insight into the Victorians upper class society we see this in Dr Jekyll's house; as well as upper class society we see a side of the lower class this is shown through Mr Hyde. Also we read about the supernatural horror which taunts the reader, another factor is the fog, this gives the impression of a mask for Mr Hyde's rampages. 1Peter Weeks 10K English course work"

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