Re-read chapter four from “it was by this time about nine in the morning and the first fog of the season…”to “…wait for him at the bank and get out the handbills.”
Explain how Stevenson uses descriptive passages to create a mood of dread. In your answer you should refer to descriptive languages used in the passage and refer to similar examples in the text.
In Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde he creates a mood of dread very well. The extent of the vocabulary helps to broaden the fantastical images in your mind. In chapter four the descriptive words leave little to the imagination, so you actually feel as if you’re in the setting. “Nine in the morning”, shows that judging the time it should be light but, “the first fog of the season”, shows that the view in the streets would have been restricted. This is all about the gothic setting, “chocolate-covered pall” shows that the fog was almost like a blanket of fog blocking out the path to heaven.
The dread starts to creep in as the only alternative would be hell “conflagration” makes you think of a fire, as if it really is a virtual hell on Earth. “Twilight” although it is nine in the morning the appearance of night is still brought in keeping with the theme of horror. Contrasts are then brought in “back end of evening” this is a complete opposite of the opening about it being 9.AM. Repeated again is the referral to darkness but now there is a little daylight “a haggard shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths,” whatever daylight there was, it was like a distorted swirl of fog.
When Mr. Utterson took the witness maid to where Mr. Hyde’s accommodation was the element of disappointment appears as he lives in the “dismal quarter of Soho” with its “muddy ways,” not only is the place run down but it’s uncared for. You have to question the people willing to live there. You can picture an image of a sinister creature lurking in the depths, waiting to pounce. Pure evil This raises a debate as to where Mr. Hyde is docile of living. “Slatternly passengers” the appearance of the people at first glance are messy, scruffy, seedy characters. “Combat this mournful reinvasion of darkness”, there is a battle between the light and darkness and darkness seems to be winning. “Like a district of some city in a nightmare”, it’s in a setting of a nightmare landscape. “The thoughts of his mind, besides, were of the gloomiest dye”, horrible weather, his mood mirrors the weather.
The weather creates a scene of dread in its own right as it is so dismal and is affecting Mr Utterson’s mood and feelings. It’s all part of the pathetic fallacy. “Terror of the law and the law’s officers,” is a peculiar way to regard officers of the law. Why is there a feeling of terrorism? What makes Utterson so uneasy around the officers?
“The fog lifted a little and showed him a dingy street,” the street was poorly illuminated, dark; this is all part of the gothic setting. You become apprehensive as to where the cab has pulled up to. You get a feeling of restraint; a fantastical image is set in your mind as you feel you’re in the setting. “A gin palace,” basically a pub, where the gin was cheap. “Ragged children,” “huddled,” “many women,” all negative descriptions of the people and the way they are living. Again you get such a vivid description of what this would look like if you were in the actual physical background.
“He had been in that night very late, but he had gone away again in less than an hour; there was nothing strange in that,” the fact that the lady thinks there is nothing strange about the times at which Hyde comes and goes shows that she is used to the irregular pattern at which he leaves and enters the house. On the rare accountings she does seem him, curiosity doesn’t take over and she asks no questions about his whereabouts. It’s the type of relation they have developed. “It was nearly two months since she had seen him till yesterday,” where could Hyde have been all that time? His habits had become so random that she didn’t stir when he had been gone for so long.
“A flash of odious joy appeared upon the woman’s face,” strange that the woman is so repugnant that Hyde is in trouble. She has no sense of remorse. When she hears that the man Utterson is with inspector she puts a disgusting way about herself. “The napery elegant; a good picture hung upon the walls, a gift (as Utterson supposed) from Henry Jekyll,” he assumes it’s from Dr. Jekyll as Hyde has furnishings displaying good taste in his rooms as Henry Jekyll was regarded a “connoisseur” .
The top half of the room seems perfectly fine, but when Utterson glances down at the floor “the rooms bore every mark of having been recently and hurriedly ransacked; clothes lay about the floor” the room obviously seems as if someone was in a hurry to leave. “Many papers had been burned” something is trying to be kept secret, maybe an identity or a secret letter. It’s strange. It doesn’t follow pattern to the rest of the passage. You get told so much description in the beginning that you feel like part of the story, but now you are being left hanging in the dark to try and imagine what is going on. The vivid description suddenly becomes a secret, an unknown identity.