Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Extract 1

This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It takes place near the beginning of the novella, when Mr Utterson speaks with Mr Hyde for the first time. The passage is atmospheric and mysterious, as if the reader too were awaiting the arrival of the unknown Mr Hyde. There are many sensory elements in this section of text, with sights and sounds vividly conveyed. Knowing Mr Enfield’s account of his own first glimpse of Mr Hyde adds a sense of unease, although Utterson does not betray any sign of fear.

How to answer an extract question in an exam:

Always read the passage through more than once before you begin writing your answer.

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This habit gives you the opportunity to notice different details and aspects of the passage. On the first reading, try to gain a general understanding of the extract, especially thinking of ways in which its details relate to the question you will be answering. When reading for the second time, make detailed notes and annotations, remembering to sketch out a rough plan. Once you’ve done this, you can then being to plan exactly how you will use the passage to answer the question.

Consider the possible reasons behind the choice of specific passage. How does it relate to the rest of the text? Try to pinpoint the themes which appear and consider which significant characters are present. How does the passage relate to all that follows in the text? Are later events foreshadowed? Also, how does the passage relate to earlier events? Is a turning point evident? Consider the extract’s ending: can you think of a reason why the passage ends where it does? How is the final line significant?

Pay careful attention to the specific wording of the question you have chosen to answer. What does the question ask you to discuss? There are many possibilities here, including mood and atmosphere, character or theme. You might be asked to give a personal response to the passage or to a character. Dialogue, or the behaviour or feelings of a character, might be the focus. Different question types require different sorts of answers. Begin by explaining the passage’s immediate context: note the events preceding the extract and draw attention to their relevance. Always ensure that you refer to the detail of the passage, rather than discussing it very generally, which can make your answer appear vague. Analyse and discuss the relationship between the passage and text’s themes. Grouping related ideas together will give your answer some structure. Always plan carefully, in order to have enough time to discuss the entire passage.

Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.

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From that time forward, Mr Utterson began to haunt the door in the by-street of shops. In the morning before office hours, at noon when business was plenty and time scarce, at night under the face of the fogged city moon, by all lights and at all hours of solitude or concourse, the lawyer was to be found on his chosen post.

“If he be Mr Hyde,” he had thought, “I shall be Mr Seek.”

And at last his patience was rewarded. It was a fine dry night; frost in the air; the streets as clean as a ballroom floor; the lamps, unshaken by any wind, drawing a regular pattern of light and shadow. By ten o’clock, when the shops were closed, the by-street was very solitary and, in spite of the low growl of London from all round, very silent. Small sounds carried far; domestic sounds out of the houses were clearly audible on either side of the roadway; and the rumour of the approach of any passenger preceded him by a long time. Mr Utterson had been some minutes at his post, when he was aware of an odd, light footstep drawing near. In the course of his nightly patrols, he had long grown accustomed to the quaint effect with which the footfalls of a single person, while he is still a great way off, suddenly spring out distinct from the vast hum and clatter of the city. Yet his attention had never before been so sharply and decisively arrested; and it was with a strong, superstitious prevision of success that he withdrew into the entry of the court.

The steps drew swiftly nearer, and swelled out suddenly louder as they turned the end of the street. The lawyer, looking forth from the entry, could soon see what manner of man he had to deal with. He was small and very plainly dressed, and the look of him, even at that distance, went somehow strongly against the watcher’s inclination. But he made straight for the door, crossing the roadway to save time; and as he came, he drew a key from his pocket like one approaching home.

Mr Utterson stepped out and touched him on the shoulder as he passed. “Mr Hyde, I think?”

Mr Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of the breath. But his fear was only momentary; and though he did not look the lawyer in the face, he answered coolly enough: “That is my name. What do you want?”

“I see you are going in,” returned the lawyer. “I am an old friend of Dr Jekyll’s - Mr Utterson of Gaunt Street - you must have heard my name; and meeting you so conveniently, I thought you might admit me.”

“You will not find Dr Jekyll; he is from home,” replied Mr Hyde, blowing in the key. And then suddenly, but still without looking up, “How did you know me?” he asked.

“On your side,” said Mr Utterson, “will you do me a favour?”

“With pleasure,” replied the other. “What shall it be?”

“Will you let me see your face?” asked the lawyer.

Mr Hyde appeared to hesitate, and then, as if upon some sudden reflection, fronted about with an air of defiance; and the pair stared at each other pretty fixedly for a few seconds. “Now I shall know you again,” said Mr Utterson. “It may be useful.”

“Yes,” returned Mr Hyde, “it is as well we have met; and à propos, you should have my address.” And he gave a number of a street in Soho.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Oxford University Press, 2006)
  1. What is the immediate context for this passage?
    The image of Mr Hyde tramping through the streets as unstoppable as a juggernaut haunts Mr Utterson's dreams
  2. What immediately follows this passage?
    Mr Hyde has already told Mr Utterson that Dr Jekyll is not at home
  3. Which of the following gives the impression that London is a living being?
    London growls like an animal. The fourth answer, by contrast, emphasises the busy mechanical sounds of the city
  4. "He was small and very plainly dressed, and the look of him, even at that distance, went somehow strongly against the watcher’s inclination." Which of the following words best describes the effect which Mr Hyde has on Mr Utterson?
    The lawyer is repelled at the first sight of the other man, a reaction inverse to that inspired by Dr Jekyll
  5. "And meeting you so conveniently, I thought you might admit me.” How could Mr Utterson's statement best be described?
    Mr Utterson has not met Mr Hyde "conveniently", as if by accident, and Mr Hyde knows it. This is an example of a social lie, which another member of the same society is meant to treat as true while knowing it not to be. Mr Hyde rarely follows social conventions, of course
  6. Which of the following words best describe the atmosphere between the two men in this passage?
    Mr Hyde is unable to keep his cool for long, soon losing his temper at the suggestion that Dr Jekyll has described him to Mr Utterson
  7. Mr Hyde is frequently described as either moving, looking, or behaving as an animal. Which of the following words from this passage adds to this impression?
    Mr Enfield imagines Mr Hyde as inhuman, a juggernaut. In this first encounter with Mr Utterson, the reader glimpses the animalistic side of this man otherwise observing social formalities
  8. Mr Hyde wishes to know how he was recognised by a man who had never met him before. How does Mr Utterson respond?
    Mr Utterson afterwards implies that he knows Mr Hyde through mutual friends, invoking Hyde's anger. Dr Jekyll, of course, knows perfectly well that he has never described Hyde to Mr Utterson
  9. Which of the following does NOT contribute to a theme of surveillance in the text?
    Mr Utterson lies in wait for Mr Hyde, a man he has pursued for some time. Throughout the novella, crimes and violent acts are seen by hidden witnesses, such as the servant who observes the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. Dr Jekyll lives in continual fear of being unexpectedly seen as Mr Hyde
  10. Mr Utterson believes that Mr Hyde has given him his Soho address in case Dr Jekyll disappears or dies and his will comes into effect. What is more likely to be Hyde's motivation?
    Utterson's knowledge of Mr Hyde's Soho address will certainly throw him off the scent, were he ever to suspect that Jekyll and Hyde were the same man. As the reader discovers, Utterson is so convinced that Hyde is blackmailing Jekyll that he never goes anywhere near the truth in his suspicions

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