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Dr Jekll and Mr Hyde

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Explore How Stevenson Creates a Sense of Intrigue and Engages the Reader's Interest in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde In this essay I am going to be exploring how Stevenson examines Victorian hypocrisy and human nature, the duality of man, in his famous tale, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His novella, written in 1886, was set in London, and is described as a gothic horror. Stevenson uses Mr Utterson, a 'modest' lawyer, to guide us through the novella, unravelling to the mystery gradually throughout the novella. By revealing a few clues at a time, many questions emerge in the reader's mind, however, only a few of these are answered throughout the tale. Stevenson uses a wide range of language and structural devices to build a sense of intrigue and engage the reader. Dr Jekyll, a renowned London scientist, was born into a wealthy family with great honour and had gained respect from his fellow men. Dr Jekyll struggled with the dual nature of his nature and although he was loyal to his friends, Jekyll had a dark side, which he choice to express in the person of Mr Hyde. He noticed that 'man is not truly one, but truly two' and this lead him to 'recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man'. Jekyll saw the need to hide Hyde from the world since he was forced to be respectable and loyal to everyone around him due to his class since birth. ...read more.


Around the scene of the incident, there was a 'misty fog' and clouds 'over the city' while the 'full moon' lit up the night. The 'full moon' associates with the time when evil beings, often shown as deformed men or werewolves, commit their most heinous acts. The 'fog' suggests intrigue and mystery. Stevenson uses highly descriptive language during the attack. The maid explains to Utterson how Mr Carew, the kindly gentleman, was 'trampled under foot' and his 'bones were audibly shattered' by the 'ape-like' Hyde. Stevenson starts off The Carew Murder Case by describing a quiet scene however this contrasts against the abominable attack, which is described in many gory details. Hyde was described as a 'small' person compared to his 'good' side, Dr Jekyll, which may be because Stevenson intended to emphasis on how low Hyde had gone by committing heinous crimes. Using lengthy descriptions, Stevenson sets the scene to create an atmosphere and engage the reader. Stevenson sets his novella in 18- and mentions 'bad' deeds and secrecy throughout the parable. This may be because Stevenson saw that although most noblemen seem to be modest and loyal from the outside, inside they hid dark secrets. In chapter 7, The Last Night, Jekyll transforms uncontrollably into Mr Hyde and by describing the unsettling weather, Stevenson shows this as a bad omen. Stevenson shows that the evil was angering the wind outside by describing the wind, 'which only broke in puffs and draughts into that deep well of building, tossed the light of the candle to and fro.' ...read more.


In a similar way, Hyde had overpowered Jekyll and soon murdered him too. Also, a man called Faust had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for absolute power and knowledge whilst he was still alive. Ina similar way, Jekyll created Hyde, as one of his marvellous creations, however, instead of being proud of his creation, Jekyll's 'terror of gallows drove him continually to commit temporary suicide'. After reading The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, when it was first published, readers would have realised that man has both, an evil and a good side to him. At the time the book was published, society was very strict, it didn't question religion and there was a great divide between poverty and wealth. This made the readers of the time engaged and intrigued. The Victorian Society was very religious at the time and believed that if you sinned then you will be banished to hell for eternity. The story was enormously popular with it Victorian audience, showing a fascination with the 'other side' of life. Many of the characters in the novella have professions that were seen to be significant and dominating by society, such as a Doctor and a Politician. The readers may be influenced into thinking that the upper classes were more likely to have a dual personality compared to someone of a lower class. He might also have been moralising here, exposing Victorian hypocrisy for what it was. 1 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ape ?? ?? ?? ?? Nirali Patel Mrs Dodd ...read more.

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Response to the question

This answer is in response to a question discussing the creation of suspense and intrigue in the readers' minds about the plot of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'. In this answer, there is ...

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Response to the question

This answer is in response to a question discussing the creation of suspense and intrigue in the readers' minds about the plot of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'. In this answer, there is a good focus established and all the analysis is suitably aimed at the creation of suspense and intrigue, with the candidate discussing in some detail the use of thematic elements, contextual factors, and literary devices such as pathetic fallacy (very briefly mentioned rather than properly analysed in the chapter 'The Last Night'). The answer is coherent and touches on a number of moments during the entirety of the novella that lend themselves well to analysis of the creation of dramatic suspense.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is very good, and indicative of a low A grade candidate for GCSE. There is is sound demonstration of understanding of the novel and a selection of appropriate scenes and even small descriptions have been identified for analysis. The comments on the duality of Dr. Jekyll are very good as they directly create suspense perhaps not with an audience of today, who are familiarised with bastardised slasher-film adaptations of the book, but certainly with a nineteenth century audience - it may have been prudent to comment on this briefly, to show a realisation that the novella does not evoke the same level of suspense of intrigue that it may have had when originally published (though it could be argued in the candidates favour, that this would only contribute to a small number of context marks, and contextual appreciation is abundant in numerous other places within the essay response).
The introductory and conclusive paragraphs need a little work, as the introductions feel very unconvincing and forced as if the candidate is struggling to be inventive with the language and give any clear inclination as to what it is they are analysing - a good tip here is to use the words of the question and explicitly state what elements of the novel/novella you will address in order to do such analysis. As for the conclusive paragraph; there doesn't appear to be one. This suggests the candidate ran short of time or simply forgot to do so, but this is not acceptable for GCSE coursework/exam scripts as the conclusion is meant to tie up all the comments made earlier and establish a link between them all that directly answers the question proposed - new ideas should not be present in a conclusion.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is average. There are no glaring spelling mistakes, and none that compromise the clarity of the response, though there are moment were the sentence syntax feels very forced such as in the introductory paragraph - "Stevenson uses Mr Utterson, a ‘modest’ lawyer, to guide us through the novella, unravelling to the mystery gradually throughout the novella." The repetition of "through(out) the novella" suggests that the candidate accidentally re-used the same phrase and whilst this does not make the intended meaning ambiguous, it does show examiner that the candidate may not have been paying attention when they wrote the introduction, as that is generally reflected in it's poor quality in comparison to the rest of the essay.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 16/03/2012

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