Tag Archives: Incident of the letter

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