Category Archives: Analytical questions

Detailed question and answers on “The Last Night”

Comprehension questions

Why does Poole ask for help? What is his mood?

What is the weather like?

Why are all the servants afraid?

What has Poole had to do for his master during these past few weeks?

What do Jekyll’s notes to the chemist reveal about his state of mind?

What has Jekyll being doing these past few weeks? Why does Poole call him “it”?

Why and how do they break down the door?

When they break into the “cabinet” what do they find?

What evidence is there that Hyde has killed himself?

What evidence is there that Jekyll has been there very recently?

Analytical questions

How and why does Stevenson use the “pathetic fallacy” in this chapter?

How does Stevenson make this chapter so dramatic and yet manages to prolong the mystery?

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson is creating an atmosphere of horror?

Creative response tasks

Write a story or poem called “The Disappearance” in which you describe the room of someone who has disappeared.

Write Poole’s diary entry for this chapter, and other chapters where relevant. In the diary, get Poole to describe his relationship with Jekyll and his thoughts about his master.

 

You can watch a YouTube video I made about this section here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQMt54K_vgw

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

Why does Poole ask for help? What is his mood? He asks for help from Utterson because he suspects that there has been “foul play”: he is very worried for the safety of his master.

What is the weather like? It is a clear night with a full moon and “diaphanous” or transparent clouds. It is very windy.

Why are all the servants afraid? They think something terrible has happened to Dr Jekyll and don’t know what to do.

What has Poole had to do for his master during these past few weeks? He has had to take notes to the chemist which demand drugs which are “pure”.

What do Jekyll’s notes to the chemist reveal about his state of mind? He shows that he is very agitated because he has scribbled on the notes that he must have pure drugs using the phrase “for God’s sake” in wild handwriting.

What has Jekyll being doing these past few weeks? Why does Poole call him “it”? Jekyll has shut himself away and won’t see anyone, even his servants. Poole believes that Jekyll has been “made away with” – either kidnapped or killed – and that Hyde, who he calls “it”, is living there.

Why and how do they break down the door? They believe Jekyll has been murdered. They break down the door with an axe.

When they break into the “cabinet” what do they find? They find a very “normal” or commonplace set up: a kettle on the oven, a fire in the grate, and papers on a business desk. The only strange thing initially they see are the chemicals in their “presses”. Then they discover the dead body of Hyde in the larger clothes of Jekyll, twitching in the last throes of life.

What evidence is there that Hyde has killed himself? There is a “crush phial” in his hand which has contained poison.

What evidence is there that Jekyll has been there very recently? They find a letter written by him that day.

 

Analytical questions

How and why does Stevenson use the “pathetic fallacy” in this chapter?

The wind is very “wild” and strong and it is a clear night with a full moon: the wind possibly could suggest the violence of Edward Hyde.

How does Stevenson make this chapter so dramatic and yet manages to prolong the mystery? The chapter is punctuated by a number of gripping incidents. First, Poole’s appearance at Utterson’s door is dramatic because it is so unusual for the butler to leave Jekyll’s house without his master’s permission. The story he tells is wild and incomplete: he says that there has been “foul play” but we don’t know exactly what “foul play” there has been. The reader begins to wonder whether Jekyll has been murdered or kidnapped by Hyde? Poole’s mood adds to the tension: he is clearly in a state of near panic, which is unusual for this butler who is normally so calm. Second, Stevenson’s descriptions of the places and the weather add to the dramatic tension because he describes a clear windy night with a full moon: this setting suggests that something supernatural is afoot. Other descriptions of the house, the laboratory and Jekyll’s quiet room with the dead body of Hyde in it are very evocative. They provoke many questions which don’t have answers: why is Hyde dead and not Jekyll? Stevenson’s description of the servants huddled in the doorway adds to the sense of crisis and bemusement: why are they so frightened? Why don’t they know what is going on? Then, Stevenson piles on the mystery when we listen to Poole’s full explanation: he believes that Jekyll has been murdered by Hyde, but we wonder how the notes to the chemist, written in Jekyll’s hand, have been written. Further tension is created by the strange, strangulated sound of Jekyll’s voice pleading with Utterson to leave him alone. Stevenson’s description of the breaking down of the door is incredibly powerful: he describes the violence with which Poole attacks the door in vivid imagery, deploying dynamic verbs to evoke a sense of violence. The door “leapt” off its hinges: this personification of the door adds to the sense of drama; even the door is in shock! Then the ensuing description of the quiet laboratory and the small body of Hyde twitching in the big clothes of Jekyll provide a nice contrast to the violence of the attack on the door. There is something horrifying and pitiable about the description of Hyde’s body twitching in the huge clothes of Jekyll. It is also deeply mysterious: how and why has this happened? The mystery is furthered when we learn about the will being made out to Utterson and the fact that Jekyll himself is nowhere to be seen.

 

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson is creating an atmosphere of horror? The horror is generated not by description of lots of “blood and gore” but by the fact that we begin to realise that something truly terrifying has happened to both Hyde and Jekyll. Hyde who had seemed so indestructible is now lying dead in the huge clothes of Jekyll. Further horror is generated by the servants’ reactions to Hyde and Jekyll: Poole, normally so calm, is in a state of total panic, while the other servants seemed to have completely imploded, huddling as they do in the doorway. Stevenson is successful in creating a sense of horror in the way he develops the mystery and forces us to think so hard about what has happened to Jekyll. The horror comes from us thinking about how this once respected man, who was so in command of his life, has been brought down so low: demanding drugs all the time and falling victim to the machinations of Hyde.

 For more on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde please read my book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Study Guide Edition available in paperback and e-Book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1494767910

My play-script version of the novel enables students to read the book in groups and understand it as well as the context of the times: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1495975010

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Detailed questions and answers on “Incident at the Window”

Comprehension questions

What does Enfield discover about Hyde’s rooms that he didn’t know? Why do you think Utterson hadn’t already told him this information?

What are Jekyll’s mood and emotions like in this chapter?

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson use description and dialogue to create a sense of drama and impending doom in this chapter?

Evaluative questions

How successful is this chapter in provoking the reader’s curiosity?

Creative response tasks

Write a poem or short story about a brief but chilling meeting with a friend who is in a bad way, calling it “My Sad Friend”.

Write Enfield’s diary for this chapter in which he talks about his friendship with Utterson and his thoughts on Jekyll and Hyde.

 

You can watch a YouTube video I made about this section here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDO-vorkfUc

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

What does Enfield discover about Hyde’s rooms that he didn’t know? He realises that Hyde’s living quarters are actually the back part of Dr Jekyll’s house.

Why do you think Utterson hadn’t already told him this information? Utterson is a very “discreet” person: he does not reveal his friend’s secrets or troubles to anyone. Thus we see him as someone who can be trusted and doesn’t gossip.

What are Jekyll’s mood and emotions like in this chapter? Jekyll is revealed as being in a state of “abject terror” when he finishes talking to Enfield and Utterson: he is terrified in the most extreme fashion.

 

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson use description and dialogue to create a sense of drama and impending doom in this chapter? The description of Jekyll sitting in such a dejected way at the window creates a sense of impending doom because we see that hhe feels that he has no future prospects. He appears to be without hope: he can’t even go out for a walk with his friends. Then when his mood shifts from one of depression to “abject terror” we have a sense that something terrible is going to happen to Jekyll.

 Evaluative questions

How successful is this chapter in provoking the reader’s curiosity? Stevenson’s manages to carry on creating a deep and profound of mystery in this chapter because, on first reading, we don’t know what is troubling Jekyll or what is making his mood swing so sharply. As far as we are concerned, Hyde has disappeared and therefore Jekyll possibly doesn’t need to worry about him. The shift from depression to “abject terror” is particularly perplexing. Why has he suddenly shut the window on his friends? What has happened to him to make him suddenly feel this way? The chapter, like the previous one, provokes many questions in the reader’s mind.

Detailed question and answers on “Incident of the letter”

 

Comprehension questions

What does the state of Jekyll’s laboratory tell us about his state of mind?

What does the letter to Jekyll from Hyde say?

Why does Utterson believe Jekyll forged the letter?

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson reveal Jekyll’s state of mind in this chapter? Think about his use of dialogue, the descriptions of the laboratory, and the plot twist that the letter is a forgery.

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in generating mystery and suspense in the chapter?

Creative response tasks

Write a story or poem called “The Forgery”.

Write Utterson’s diary for this chapter, discussing his feelings about seeing his friend Henry Jekyll and his concern when he finds out the letter is a forgery.

 

You can watch a YouTube video I made about this section here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS7-NztA0Tk

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

What does the state of Jekyll’s laboratory tell us about his state of mind? That he is neglectful of his previous interests: all of his scientific equipment is unused. This suggests he is probably depressed because he is not pursuing his favourite past-time: science.

What does the letter to Jekyll from Hyde say? Hyde says that he has escaped and can’t be caught, and that he will not return.

Why does Utterson believe Jekyll forged the letter? First, he learns from a servant that no one delivered the letter. Second, his friend Mr Guest, who is a hand-writing expert, notices that Hyde’s handwriting in the letter is identical to Jekyll’s, except that it is differently sloped.

 

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson reveal Jekyll’s state of mind in this chapter? Think about his use of dialogue, the descriptions of the laboratory, and the plot twist that the letter is a forgery.  Through his description of the abandoned and disused laboratory, he reveals that Jekyll is no longer pursing his passion, science, this suggests that Jekyll is depressed. When he talks to Jekyll, it is obvious that he is in a state of shock, but convinced that Hyde won’t trouble him again. Stevenson’s use of dialogue is effective in conveying Jekyll’s sense of shock. However, the revelation that Jekyll has possibly forged the letter suggests that Jekyll is deceitful for some reason. This narrative “twist” is very effective in making the reader think that Jekyll is hiding some terrible secret, and is not to be trusted.

 

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in generating mystery and suspense in the chapter? Stevenson’s characterisation of Jekyll as a cunning but shocked person is highly effective for a number of reasons. First, it creates mystery: we, as readers, are desperate to know the solution to the mystery. Second, it is highly successful in constructing a picture of a highly complex personality: Jekyll is not a “straight-forward” person at all, and this provokes our interest in the story further.

For more on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde please read my book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Study Guide Edition available in paperback and e-Book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1494767910

My play-script version of the novel enables students to read the book in groups and understand it as well as the context of the times: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1495975010

Detailed questions and answers on “The Carew Murder Case”

Comprehension questions

What were the circumstances of the murder of Sir Danvers Carew? How was he killed?

Why was Utterson contacted?

What incriminating evidence was found in Hyde’s rooms?

Why is Hyde now a hunted man?
    Analytical questions

How does Stevenson convey a sense of horror and mystery in this chapter?

Look at Stevenson’s descriptions of London and Hyde’s flat: how does he generate a Gothic atmosphere here?

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in making Hyde seem genuinely evil?

Creative response tasks

Write the newspaper article about the murder of Carew.

Continue Utterson’s diary for this chapter of the novel, detailing his thoughts on the murder and his discovery of the incriminating evidence in Jekyll’s flat.

Write a story or poem called “The Murder”.

 

You can watch a YouTube video I made about the chapter here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk5jBmSVn_8

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

What were the circumstances of the murder of Sir Danvers Carew? How was he killed? He was killed in October on a night which was cloudless and there was a full moon. Mr Hyde approached Sir Danvers Carew, exchanged a few words, which did not seem very important, and then lost his temper, clubbing the kind old man to death. He hit him so hard that the maid who witnessed the attack heard the old man’s bones shatter. After witnessing the attack, the maid fainted and woke up at 2am, when she saw Hyde’s broken stick lying near the old man. It was then that she contacted the police.

Why was Utterson contacted? Utterson was approached because when Sir Danver’s clothes were searched, a letter addressed to him was found: Utterson was Sir Danver’s lawyer.

What incriminating evidence was found in Hyde’s rooms? The other half of the broken stick.

Why is Hyde now a hunted man? Because he murdered a very important politician, Sir Danvers Carew. Notice how people were less bothered about finding him after the attack on the girl, possibly because she was of a lower class than Sir Danvers.

 

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson convey a sense of horror and mystery in this chapter? Stevenson takes great care in describing the murder of Sir Danvers in a number of different ways. First, it is important that a maid witnesses the murder: she is an innocent by-stander and this gives her description more poignancy. Second, she knows Hyde: we never learn why, but this adds to a sense of mystery and menace about Hyde: maybe he has been attacking maids? Third, the maid’s description is genuinely horrific: it appears that Hyde has attacked a man who described as being very “kindly” and “beautiful” with “white hair” for what appears to be no reason at all. The metaphor used to describe his anger is effective; the maid describes how he broke out in a “great flame of anger”. This suggests both the power and horror of Hyde: he is a man who burns with anger. He is genuinely psychotic. Then Sir Danvers’ bones are described as “audibly” shattering: in other words, the maid heard his bones crunch as he was smashed by Hyde’s stick, which breaks from the violence of the attack.

Look at Stevenson’s descriptions of London and Hyde’s flat: how does he generate a Gothic atmosphere here? Stevenson creates a very Gothic atmosphere firstly by his descriptions of the fog and the darkness. Even though it is the morning, there is still darkness which is created by the fog: “a great chocolate-coloured pall” covers the whole of the city. This metaphor is particularly effective because a “pall” is a cloth spread over a coffin. In other words, it feels like the city itself is a coffin, which contains the dead body of the people. The daylight is described as “haggard”: tired, wearied and ugly. Women who have their own “keys” wander about the area where Hyde lives: in Stevenson’s day, women who had their own keys were probably prostitutes. The area has a “gin palace”: this was a place to get very cheap, strong alcohol. “Ragged” children, who are probably homeless, “huddle in the doorways”. This is a city of your worst nightmares: full of vice, of poverty, of unfairness, soaked in fog and a feeling of death.

 

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in making Hyde seem genuinely evil?

Hyde’s evil is evoked by the way he murders Carew. He appears to have murdered him for absolutely no reason at all. He is a man consumed by evil, which burns like a “great flame” within him. He seems to enjoy “trampling” upon people: this is a particularly cowardly method of attack. He only seems to pick upon people weaker than himself and seems to enjoy murdering Carew. He is a sadist: he enjoys seeing people suffer. Thus we can see that Stevenson is extremely successful in evoking Hyde’s evil nature: we see him doing very evil things, and what is more we see him enjoying his evil deeds. He appears totally out of control. For me, his real evil comes from the fact that he only picks on weak people: he is a psychotic bully.

For more on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde please read my book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Study Guide Edition available in paperback and e-Book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1494767910

My play-script version of the novel enables students to read the book in groups and understand it as well as the context of the times: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1495975010

Detailed questions and answers on “Dr Jekyll was quite at ease”

Comprehension questions

Why does Jekyll think Lanyon is a pedant?

What does Jekyll make Utterson promise? Why is Utterson uneasy about the promise?

What is Jekyll’s state of mind at this point do you think?

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson present Jekyll in this chapter? How does he create a sense of mystery around the character?

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in creating a sense of mystery in this chapter?

Creative response tasks

Write a story or poem about a friend who is a good person but befriends a bully who is a bad influence, calling the story “Bad Influence”.

Write Utterson’s diary for this chapter.

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

Why does Jekyll think Lanyon is a pedant? Jekyll thinks that Lanyon is “nit-picking” when he criticises Jekyll’s scientific experiments and ideas.

What does Jekyll make Utterson promise? Why is Utterson uneasy about the promise? He makes him promise that he will do his best for Hyde if he dies or disappears: in other words make sure Hyde enjoys the contents of the will. Utterson does not like Hyde and is worried that Jekyll may be murdered by Hyde in order to get the contents of the will.

What is Jekyll’s state of mind at this point do you think? On the surface, Jekyll appears to be “normal” in that he is socialising and seeing people. However, the moment that Utterson questions him about Hyde a “paleness comes to his lips and blackness about the eyes”. He is obviously very worried in some kind of way about Hyde, but won’t explain exactly what his worries are.

                     

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson present Jekyll in this chapter? How does he create a sense of mystery around the character? Stevenson presents Jekyll as someone who appears on the surface to be happy, but clearly is in a disturbed state of mind deep down. We see how unnerved he becomes when he is asked about Hyde: he becomes “pale” and there is“blackness about his eyes”. The description of the “blackness” is interesting because it suggests a much darker side to Jekyll. When we hear about Jekyll saying that he has a great interest in Hyde, we feel rather sickened because we know that Jekyll is friends with a man who trampled on a little girl. And we are fascinated too: what hold does Hyde have over Jekyll?

 

 

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in creating a sense of mystery in this chapter? The mystery is generated by the reader trying to guess the relationship between Hyde and Jekyll. Even when we know the solution to the mystery, the book is enjoyable to re-read because we see more clearly just how “conflicted” Jekyll is about Hyde. He is clearly pleased to have a friend who he can get rid of at any time, but he is also worried that Hyde may take over him: this is why he has written the will. The pleasure in reading the book for the first time is the pleasure in trying to find out the mystery; the pleasure on second reading is the pleasure of working out Jekyll’s complex psychological relationship with his “dark side”, with his Mr Hyde.

For more on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde please read my book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Study Guide Edition available in paperback and e-Book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1494767910

My play-script version of the novel enables students to read the book in groups and understand it as well as the context of the times: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1495975010

Detailed questions and answers on “Search for Mr Hyde”

Comprehension questions

Why is Utterson so upset about Jekyll’s will?

Why does Utterson visit Lanyon? Why has Lanyon lost interest in Jekyll as a scientist?

What is Utterson worried about and what does he dream about?

What steps does Utterson take to find Mr Hyde?

Why does Hyde accuse Utterson of lying to him?

Why does Utterson visit Jekyll immediately after seeing Hyde?

Why is Utterson even more worried about Jekyll at the end of the chapter?

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson generate suspense in this chapter?

How does Stevenson create a Gothic atmosphere in his description of the streets of London and Utterson’s dreams?

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in creating a mood of mystery in this chapter?

Creative response tasks

Write Utterson’s diary entry for this chapter, detailing his encounters with Lanyon, with Mr Hyde, and his worries for Henry Jekyll.

Write a story or poem about a nightmare that comes true, calling it “Nightmare”.

 

You can watch a YouTube video I made about this section of the book here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD8w12CIJQc

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS  in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

 

 

Why is Utterson so upset about Jekyll’s will? Because he has left all his estate (money and property) to Hyde if he dies or disappears for more than three months.

Why does Utterson visit Lanyon? Why has Lanyon lost interest in Jekyll as a scientist? Utterson wants to find out why Lanyon has fallen out with Jekyll, and wants to know if it has anything to do with him knowing something unpleasant about Jekyll. However, he finds out, to his relief, that they have fallen out over a difference of opinion about science; Lanyon believes Jekyll is involved in “unscientific balderdash”.

What is Utterson worried about and what does he dream about? He is very worried about his good friend Jekyll being blackmailed by Hyde, and possibly being harmed by him.

What steps does Utterson take to find Mr Hyde? Utterson waits by Hyde’s door day and night.

Why does Hyde accuse Utterson of lying to him? Utterson says that Jekyll has told him about Hyde. Hyde knows this is a lie because of course Hyde is Jekyll, and Jekyll has, of course, said nothing about Hyde to Utterson.

Why does Utterson visit Jekyll immediately after seeing Hyde?  First because Hyde’s apartment is actually part of Jekyll’s house: it is the back of Jekyll’s very large house. This means it is easy for him to see Jekyll. Second because he is very worried about his friend being in trouble in some way.

Why is Utterson even more worried about Jekyll at the end of the chapter? He is extremely worried that Jekyll will come to harm; that Hyde will hurt Jekyll in some terrible way. Both his dream and his meeting with Hyde have persuaded him of this. Hyde’s apparent interest in Utterson knowing where he lives has made Utterson think that Hyde knows about the will; since he now knows where Hyde lives, he will be more easily able to give the will to Hyde. He can see Hyde thinking this.

 

Analytical questions

How does Stevenson generate suspense in this chapter? Stevenson generates suspense by making Utterson look in such a determined way for Hyde: there is an element of a “hunt” here — and a mystery. We really want to know what will happen when Utterson meets Hyde. When he does, the meeting is very tense: Hyde seems very anti-social except when he appears to be thinking about the will. This leads the reader to think that Hyde may well be planning for Jekyll to die soon so that he can inherit his money. The reader thinks that maybe Hyde is planning Jekyll’s murder. The dialogue between Utterson and Hyde is brief and tense. Stevenson’s descriptions in the chapter are highly suspenseful: the description of the dreams Utterson has of the faceless figures are genuinely horrific and based on Stevenson’s own dreams.

How does Stevenson create a Gothic atmosphere in his description of the streets of London and Utterson’s dreams? The London that Stevenson describes is a “Gothic” London full of darkness and fog, which appears to be both literal and metaphorical. The characters in the novel are immersed in darkness or evil, and the fog could suggest their moral confusion as well.

 

Evaluative questions

How successful is Stevenson in creating a mood of mystery in this chapter? Stevenson’s ability to tell a fascinating, fast-paced mystery story as well as his facility to describe London and Utterson’s nightmares make this a highly successful chapter. Above all, it is his characterisation of Hyde which makes the story so gripping: Hyde is only shown in “little bursts” but what we do see is very disturbing. This is a man who appears capable of murder and even worse.

 For more on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde please read my book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: The Study Guide Edition available in paperback and e-Book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1494767910

My play-script version of the novel enables students to read the book in groups and understand it as well as the context of the times: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1495975010