Category Archives: 1. The Story of the Door

Detailed questions and answers on “Story of the Door”

Comprehension questions

What type of person is Utterson? Why do “downgoing men” seek him out?

Why do Enfield and Utterson go for a walk together every Sunday?

What was of interest about the door that Enfield tells the story about? What did it look like?

What did Enfield witness regarding Hyde and the small girl?

Why and how did the crowd manage to get Hyde to write the girl’s family a cheque? What was odd about the cheque?

What is strange about Mr Hyde according to Enfield?

Analytical questions

Our first encounter with Hyde is an “eye-witness” account from Enfield. Why do you think Stevenson chose to introduce Hyde in this way?

What adjectives and imagery are used to describe Hyde?

Evaluative questions

How successful is this opening to the novel? Discuss the parts of the chapter that must have affected its first readers very deeply.

Creative response tasks

Imagine you are Utterson. Write his diary after this chapter has happened.

Write a story about a violent incident you have witnessed or have heard about that has affected you deeply.

 

You can watch some YouTube videos I made about this chapter of the book here:

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpOXi8PSwVI

Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UuF8-BYbHk

Part Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuTG95q9rSk

 

POSSIBLE ANSWERS in brief & bold

 

Comprehension questions

What type of person is Utterson? Why do “downgoing men” seek him out? Utterson is a lawyer, and a loyal friend who can be trusted by respectable men who are in trouble or facing a scandal.

Why do Enfield and Utterson go for a walk together every Sunday? They are related and enjoyed each other’s company even though they don’t talk much.

What was of interest about the door that Enfield tells the story about? What did it look like? The door is very scruffy and dirty and in a poor area. It was the door that a violent man opened.

What did Enfield witness regarding Hyde and the small girl? Hyde trampled on a small girl of eight at three in the morning.

Why and how did the crowd manage to get Hyde to write the girl’s family a cheque? What was odd about the cheque? The crowd told Hyde that they would make a “scandal” of the situation if he did not give the girl’s family some money. The cheque was odd because it was signed by a very respectable man – who we later learn is Dr Jekyll.

What is strange about Mr Hyde according to Enfield? Hyde appears deformed in some sort of way, but it is difficult express why he is so unpleasant in words.

 

Analytical questions

Our first encounter with Hyde is an “eye-witness” account from Enfield. Why do you think Stevenson chose to introduce Hyde in this way? Stevenson’s central aim at this section is to build up both a sense of mystery and horror regarding Hyde. The story is a very disturbing one because only a deeply unpleasant man would trample upon a girl of eight: this incident generates a real sense of horror regarding the character. The reader thinks if Hyde can trample upon a girl of eight, then what else can he do? Stevenson also makes Hyde deeply mysterious in a number of ways, which also contributes to the suspense. Lots of unanswered questions come into the reader’s mind: how and why is Hyde writing cheques signed by a respectable man? Why does he live in such a grotty place if he is wealthy? Why can no one describe him properly?

What adjectives and imagery are used to describe Hyde? Hyde is described as “cool” and “ugly”: both these adjectives have a disturbing effect upon the reader because of their context. Despite the fact that Hyde has just trampled on a small girl, he is “cool”: in other words, he is not emotional or remorseful in any fashion. His physical appearance also makes him seem very unpleasant: he is “ugly” and there is a “strong feeling of deformity” about him. It is interesting to note that no one can describe exactly what he looks like. Enfield talks of him being a “damned Juggernaut”: he seems to have superhuman powers and strength despite being so small.

 

Evaluative questions

How successful is this opening to the novel? Discuss the parts of the chapter that most have affected its first readers very deeply. The chapter is great at provoking the reader’s curiosity in Hyde and his relationship with Dr Jekyll. Stevenson uses the figure of Utterson to create this curiosity: it is Utterson, Jekyll’s friend, who guesses that there is a connection between the two men. Utterson’s caring nature gives the story a sympathetic character, which is important.

 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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