The essay sample on Jekyll And Hyde Essay dwells on its problems, providing a shortened but comprehensive overview of basic facts and arguments related to it. To read the essay, scroll down.
Jekyll and Hyde is one of the best known and best loved novels of the 19th century. Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic horror, and was published at a time when gothic fiction was a growing genre, and was very popular. Gothic fiction began in England with The Castle of Toronto (1764) by Horace Walpole.
It involves odd aspects like supernatural events, ghosts, and mysterious blood; which were all new to readers, something they had never come across. This paved the way for more authors to follow suit.
Main features of gothic fiction include terror, mystery, the supernatural, ghosts, haunted houses and Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, death, madness and secrets. Many of the novels before, and also after The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was released, were set in more remote places of England.
One example is Dracula, written by Bram Stocker in 1897, after the publishing of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The novel is set in Whitby, an area of inhospitable moorland. The reason it was set in such an area is that the readers, who mostly lived in London, felt safe.
But Jekyll and Hyde lived in the centre of London, which gave an edge to the story, and frightened the readers.
It is an example of how Stevenson jumps from mystery and paranormal – by using realism. There are many examples of realism in the novel, and Stevenson, to make the story more believable, has put each example in there purposefully. I will show how he uses realism in many different aspects of the story, including time, place names, speed of narrative and other aspects. Stevenson uses Journalese writing at many times of the novel. He uses journalese to replicate a newspaper.
Newspapers tell the news, which is supposedly true. Writing in journalese there is a feel as if the novel is a newspaper article making us feel it is more realistic. Also, the fast-paced journalese writing gives us no time to question events in the novel. If we have any doubts about something in the novel the style quickly makes us forget them, the story rapidly moves on. There are many examples of the speed of the narrative in the novel. One example is on pg 29 at the start of ‘The Carew Murder Case’ chapter; The first line of the chapter is simply ‘Nearly a year later, in the month of October… In one line, the novel is suddenly a year ahead of a second ago. The reader can no longer question what has just happened, because they are now much further ahead in time.
Another example of the fast-paced novel is the death of Dr. Lanyon on pg 43. In just two lines, Lanyon who had featured quite fully in the novel he is killed off; ‘A week afterwards Dr Lanyon took to his bed, and something less than a fortnight he was dead. ‘ Straight after that sentence, the story continues. There are many documents used in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, which Stevenson uses for realism to persuade the reader the novel is true. He uses documents for realism, because documents are something we come across every day, and something we would generally believe. Take for instance Jekyll’s will, which is referred to early in the novel. When we first hear about what is on the will, we might think ‘Well why would Jekyll give all his belongings to Hyde? And why does it refer to him disappearing? ‘ But the reason we don’t doubt the novel because of these questions is that it’s a deed, which is a legal document.
Therefore, we do not question whether it is telling the truth. Weather is referred to frequently in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s a simple concept of everyday life that Stevenson has used as realism. Everyday we notice the weather, and so take to make it seem real; so do the characters. The reference to weather comes every so often, and is almost put in the novel randomly, as if Stevenson has selected parts through the book to include weather just make sure of the reality. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde is set in London, and the reason we know this is not because it states that near the start of the novel, but that its repeated over and over again. He sets the novel in London because most of the readers at the time of publishing would have been in London. So, when people from London read the novel, and keep reading about a mysterious case in their own city, it seems believable and chilling. Stevenson also to refers to Soho quite often. When reading it, people from Soho will want to look out the window just to check Jekyll and Hyde aren’t there.
The references entice the reader, and make them want to read on. ‘Where else in London will they go? ‘, they might think. If the novel were set in a far away area, like ‘Dracula’ is, the reader would feel safe and calm. Being in London the reader feels in danger and cautious. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was first published in 1886, a time at when people were judged by their looks. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde there is constant reference to the way Hyde looks, and every description talk of how awful and strange he looks.
For example on pg 15, there is description of Hyde’s appearance according to Mr Enfield. The description is fairly long, but it uses words like ‘something wrong with his appearance… displeasing… deformed… downright detestable… ‘ In other descriptions words like this or of that nature are used to describe Hyde’s looks, and it is repeated often. Due to the repeats, it is engraved in the readers’ brains, and so they remember how he looks whenever they read his name and therefore it makes the descriptions seem more realistic.
Throughout the novel, Stevenson just adds little bits of realism into the descriptions of objects. For example, at the start of ‘The last Night’ chapter, Poole wipes himself with a red handkerchief. Why do we need to know its red? That’s irrelevant, you might think. But knowing the colour of it gives us a sense of knowledge of what is happening and makes the novel more realistic. Also, red is associated with blood. It is little things like that, and other bigger uses of realism, that allow Stevenson to negotiate the jump between mystery and paranormal.