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

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

Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic novel.  It was written by Robert Louis Stevenson, he got the idea for the story after a dream he had. The word ‘Goth’ is originally from a German tribe and has come to mean ‘barbarian’ and later know as ‘Gothic’.  In Gothic Literature certain features are expected.  These are supernatural events, have villains and hero characters, strange weather, horror, mystery and deaths. Older Gothic literature was in castles and deserted buildings.  Modern Gothic novels were written is more populated areas.  Another text that can be classed as ‘Gothic’ is the novel ‘Frankenstein’.  The reason for it being a ‘Gothic’ novel is the way it has a mutant character.  Frankenstein is a mutant and is made by a crazy scientist ‘I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.’ Here the crazed scientist is describing his creation coming to life. 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.  It makes you think of Mr. Hyde being inhuman.   Mr. Hyde beat an elderly gentleman, Carew to death. He had no motive for this terrible attack which makes the reader fear him as he has no remorse for any of his actions. ‘Mr. Hyde broke out of all bounds, and clubbed him to the earth.  Ant the next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot’.  By comparing Mr. Hyde to an ape shows that he is seen as being less than human.  There is a lot of secrecy in this novel particularly with Dr. Jekyll and he really is a closed book and doesn’t confide in anyone until near the end of the story.  The secrecy keeps the reader gripped because you want to find out what the secret is yourself and who will be the one Jekyll will confide in.  At the end of the novel the mystery is revealed in a letter sent from Dr. Jekyll to Dr. Laynon.  ‘I received by the evening delivery a registered envelope, addressed in the hand of my colleague and old-school companion, Henry Jekyll.  Dr Laynon narrates the letter sent to him from Dr. Jekyll which in return solves the mystery of Mr. Hyde.

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The main character is Dr Jekyll, he fits into the tradition gothic category of being a ‘doppelganger’.  He also fits into the grotesque category as he transforms from being normal into a mutant character.  “He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp… there before me eyes… there stood Henry Jekyll.”  Hyde drank the potion in front of Lanyon and transformed back into Dr Jekyll.  In this novel Mr Hyde is the villain which is also a traditional character in a gothic novel.

Mr. Utterson, the lawyer is another main character in this gothic novel.  He ...

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The Quality of Written Communication has a few issues, and also contributes to the essay not reaching the A grade. Candidate should avoid improper grammar as much as possible and should stick to Standard English: "mysterious violence keep the reader well gripped", which also features a minor grammatical error is simply not acceptable, as "well" is not a substitute for "very" of "really" or any other adverb in Standard English. Though minor, there are frequent grammatical errors like the one in the sentence above that could easily be sorted by a quick read-through to ensure written accuracy.

The Level of Analysis is board and delves to a satisfying depth. The candidate makes good use of a variety of motifs and themes within 'The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde', and at some points even makes contextual analysis (contextual appreciation is something that will greatly enhance any essay, should it be accurately implemented). Discussing the social and historical factors being the genre of Gothic literature takes up only a few lines of this essay, as were it less sporadically placed that candidate could easily achieve an A grade, but without it, the essay remains a strong B grade for A Level. Examples of contextual analysis here would be Stevenson's thoughts about the dream he had (good to mention the dream though) or maybe the expectations of the time the novel was written (had much Gothic literature been written? What was the opinion of it? How scary would a read in this time period find the acts of Mr, Hyde?). This is the missing information that would lift this candidate's essay up to an A grade.

The candidate here makes a good effort to answer the question, and all of their analysis is very succinctly and explicitly linked to the question or at least the traditional themes and conventions of Gothic literature. I would argue straight away that the extensive paragraph on the Gothic nature of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' is superfluous and at the very most should consist of four-five lines instead, concerning how it is Gothic and giving a few simple examples. No quotes or any extensive analysis is required here as no marks will be awarded for analysing the wrong book. Other than that, the candidate makes a good impression toward the examiner with various angles of the novella being taken into account - language, imagery, narrative, tension, characters etc, are all covered, although the candidate, for the sake of the allotted time during exams, may want to condense some of the analysis to a smaller size. This is no easy feat if, like so many, you are an elaborate writer who enjoys writing at length, but a directly critical analysis would be more suited to a short-time exam and so the art of writing more concisely is one that should be mastered as soon as possible.