Explore the ways in which Stevenson creates an effective horror story in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
Robert Stevenson wrote “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in 1885. In “Dr. Jekyll and My Hyde,” Stevenson creates the atmosphere of a horror story. He does this through many different techniques. He makes subtle suggestions that the central characters lead a double life, creating suspense, dramatic events and the taking of innocent victims.
In chapter one, Stevenson creates an enormous amount of suspense and intrigue in the description of Jekyll’s house. Firstly, as Stevenson describes the street, he makes a massive contrast between the attractive street: “The street and general cleanliness,” and Mr. Hyde’s house: "bore in every feature the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence."This straight away grabs the reader’s attention and forces the reader to explore the possibility that there is something peculiar going on inside the house, something strange, compared to the other houses on the road. The dodgy building is made to be menacing when Stevenson describes it as a “sinister block of building thrust forward.” The use of alliteration makes it even more forceful. “Thrust” is an active verb, which makes it more intimidating. The word is associated with evil. This helps to build on the mysteriousness and create a tense atmosphere. The mysterious lack of entrance or exits only helps in creating an effective horror story: “now windows...neither bell nor knocker.” Horror is achieved as this brings a sense of being trapped, which is threatening. From the outside, the building is uninviting which causes a lot of intrigue. The building is personified as a monstrous being: “a blind forehead of discoloured wall.” The word blind adds to the menace affect. This is perfect for creating the atmosphere of a horror story.
Stevenson manages to create horror about Mr. Hyde in the way in which we are given a clear impression of Hyde as Utterson attempts to explain why he is filled with such loathing at the sight of him. Once again, the contradictions appear as Mr. Hyde’s “murderous mixture of timidity and boldness” are noted throughout the play Stevenson uses in depth descriptions to create a perfect setting for the reader, which is intriguing and adds to the horrific atmosphere. Stevenson uses the weather and landscape to create horror such as beams of moonlight and thick forest, to help emphasize the horror to the readers. Stevenson manages to create horror about Mr. Hyde in the way in which we are given a clear impression of Hyde as Utterson attempts to explain why he is filled with such loathing at the sight of him. Once again, the contradictions appear as Mr. Hyde’s “murderous mixture of timidity and boldness” are noted and the inhuman qualities of the man are strengthened with Utterson’s description of him as “troglodytic”. Stevenson makes his description clear and bold in order to make the reader have a clear image of him and to sense the horror of this creature.
His name Hyde is maybe implying that he is hiding away from other people by secluding himself in a dark house. Stevenson again plays on the name Hyde in that he points out there is “no bell or knocker.” This looks like he wants keep him out of contact with the public. By saying this, it is adding to the mystery element because the reader is unsure why he wants to Hyde himself. Once again, this adds to the horror as well as the mystery because everyone has some sort of social life, but in his case, he seems to want to avoid having a social life. There is a contrast between the people mentioned are well to do: “Rows of smiling saleswomen,” and “Tramps slouched into recess.” This shows the people attracted to Dr. Jekyll’s house have no real person whereas the respectable people use the nice surrounding shops. The types of people are reflected in the two different buildings. It shows mystery because of the huge contrast between this house and the rest of the street; usually...
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