Use of form in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The form of a text is the type of text you are reading. In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson chooses to write in the novel form, uses the features of the Gothic genre, and uses different first-person perspectives.

  • The Gothic - a literary genre originating from the 18th century, which describes a sinister, grotesque or mysterious atmosphere. Such novels are often set in dark places or ruined buildings.
  • Stevenson's choice of London as his setting suggests that the rapidly changing city was becoming to some of its inhabitants a strange and frightening place.
  • First-person perspectives – a narrative which is told from a character's viewpoint using 'I'. In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson uses three first-person narratives: Utterson, Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll.
Question

Why does Stevenson write in the different first-person perspectives? What does it allow the reader to do?

  • Emotion - through the first person perspective, the reader gets a direct link to the character's thoughts and feelings. From this, the reader can easily detect what the character thinks and feels about a situation or another character.
  • Direct link to the reader - the first person perspective allows the character to directly communicate to the reader, thus establishing a rapport.
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When discussing form, think about what Stevenson wanted to achieve when writing in this form. If you notice anything unusual about it, it should be pointed out an your answer, as this will show you're really thinking about literary analysis.