Importance of Secrecy in Jekyll and Hyde

  • Created by: GroovyG
  • Created on: 14-04-20 13:54

Documents and their significance

Point >> Documents add mystery and tension, explore secrecy in the novella.

  • "In the case of the decease of HJ... all his possessions were to pass into the hands of his 'friend and benefactor Edward Hyde'"
    • Confusion because Hyde is evil "fiend"
    • Keeps J's will in a "safe" - barrier to knowledge
  • "HJ forge for a murderer!"
    • Assumption made by Utterson - secret is not revealed till end of novella
    • Swiftly puts it into his "safe" - barrier to knowledge
  • "PRIVATE for the hands of G.J.Utterson ALONE"
    • Mystery and tension built
    • Barrier - "incase of predecease to be destroyed unread" and "not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll" 
      • Labyrinthine - as soon as we reach conclusions more complications are added

Overall >> Mystery and tension are built because as soon as conclusions begin to form there are more secrets to be unveiled.

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Windows and doors

Point >> motif of windows and doors creates a mysterious atmosphere and presents secrecy.

  • "Barred with iron"
    • Describes J's windows
    • Does not want anyone entering
    • Secrets held within
    • Trapped
  • "Neither bell nor knocker"
    • Describes H's entrance
    • Presents a desire to avoid others 
    • Secrets being hidden inside

Overall >> By describing buildings in this way Stevenson foreshadows secrets being revealed creating a sense of mystery therefore building tension.

  • Extra detail - Utterson smashing down door to cabinet symbolises the breakdown of J's wall of secrets.
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Gothic conventions

Point >> gothic conventions are used throughout the novella to present secrecy and create a mysterious atmosphere.

  • Fog - "fog began to lie thickly"
    • Used in partnership with secrecy 
    • Presented as J claims that he is "done with him (H)" which is untrue because he continues to turn into H
    • Fog presents lies and hides the truth
  • "First fog of season"
    • Described in 'The Carew Murder Case'
    • Blankets event and hides the truth behind H's whereabouts 
  • Night 
  • 'The Carew Murder Case' - "full moon", 'The Last Night' and U's search for H - "fogged city moon"
    • Secrets are revealed and hidden at night

Overall >> Gothic conventions build tension by creating a mysterious atmosphere through secrecy.

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Point >> The silence of others builds secrecy in the novella by increasing the tension.

  • "Let us make a bargain never to refer to this again"
    • Want to protect reputation as many Victorian gentlemen (C) would have wanted at the time
    • Reader is unable to make conclusions and is suspicious of unexplained events
  • Jekyll not revealing truth until his full statement
    • Had a "desire to carry his head high" yet wanted to be free to do as he pleased - "impatient gaiety of disposition"
    • Isolated from others - "stay down here and speak with you from where we are" (Window)
    • Presents secrecy because it shows how J never able to share his struggle.
  • "I wouldn't speak of this note"
    • Choose to keep secrets from each other (not only J)
    • Causes U to make assumptions about J that steer the reader from conclusions

Overall >> the silence that the characters choose to oblige to causes for more secrets to be hidden and builds tension in the novella.

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  • Builds mystery by creating a labyrinthine effect where questions can never be answered
  • Builds tension through mysterious atmosphere and added questions
  • Makes the reader have to dig further
  • Adds suspense to the delayed reveal

Secrets and Repression - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde ...

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