Tag Archives: suspense

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 “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

­How does Stevenson build up a sense of mystery and horror describing the murder of Carew?

Look at this passage and write an essay explaining how Stevenson builds up a sense of horror here:

“The old gentleman took a step back, with the air of one very much surprised and a tri!e hurt; and at that Mr Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth. And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway. At the horror of these sights and sounds, the maid fainted. It was two o’clock when she came to herself and called for the police. The murderer was gone long ago; but there lay his victim in the middle of the lane, incredibly mangled. $e stick with which the deed had been done, although it was of some rare and very tough and heavy wood, had broken in the middle under the stress of this insensate cruelty; and one splintered half had rolled in the neighbouring gutter – the other, without doubt, had been carried away by the murderer. A purse and a gold watch were found upon the victim: but no cards or papers, except a sealed and stamped envelope, which he had been probably carrying to the post, and which bore the name and address of Mr Utterson.”