Category Archives: Authorial techniques

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

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 “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

The use of antithesis in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

LO: to learn what antithesis is, and how to spot it, and how to describe the EFFECT it has on the reader…

Write down words in Dr Jekyll that are important OPPOSITES

Thesis Antithesis Effect on reader? What does it make you think? Feel? What questions do they make you ask?
Good Evil Stevenson forces us to think about moral issues when he uses these words
Tall Small The effect for me is very disturbing, it forces us to think about Hyde’s deformity
Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde These two antithetical names provoke a lot of thoughts in the reader. They force you think: how can Jekyll take a potion to become Hyde? Why does he want to be Hyde? Is Hyde really Jekyll? Are they one person or two? They have become “antithetical words” in the language, we talk about Jekyll/Hyde personalities.
Human

Ascetic behaviour

Abstinence

 

 

Animal

Greediness

Indulgence/sexual promiscuousness

 

The main EFFECT of antithesis for me in the novel is that it creates the ILLUSION that Hyde and Jekyll are different people when they are not. We are constantly being told that Jekyll is ‘respectable’ and that Hyde is ‘disreputable’; that Hyde is violent and that Jekyll is peaceable.