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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Setting

This GCSE English Literature quiz will challenge you on setting in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A text’s setting refers to the location and the time in which its events take place. But the meaning of the term extends beyond these basics. Oftentimes, it can be easy to forget that texts frequently have several settings, since events usually occur in different places and times. Buildings and spaces provide individual settings within the general setting, and these specific settings often contrast with one another. Events occurring as a backdrop to the main events of the text are a crucial element in a text’s setting, as are political and social issues. This wider fictional world which can be glimpsed, or to which characters refer, is known as context (it is important not to confuse this fictional context, which is integral to the setting of a text, with the author’s real-life context).

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Atmosphere, another key element of setting, will usually change over the course of a text.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde seems to occupy a dual world which parallels the dual nature of man, as proposed by Jekyll. Public London is a daytime place inhabited by professional men who call upon one another, dine together and take Sunday walks. Its other aspect is that of the darkness, the private, the secluded, the dream-like, a world in which men stroll about at night for no clearly stated reason.

In addition to the “labyrinthine” streets of London, Dr Jekyll’s home is a key focus of the novella. Pay close attention to the descriptions of entrances and exits, furnishings, environment and atmosphere of the lab and the cabinet. What effect do these settings have as you read the text? How well can you envisage the streets and the interior spaces? Which of the settings appear most dream-like?

It is useful to remember that a text’s setting also includes geographical elements such as region, country, environment, landscapes and buildings. Pay close attention to the interaction of characters with their various environments. How might such interactions affect the text?

Answer the questions below on setting in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

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  1. Where does Mr Hyde have a house?
    Dr Jekyll views Soho as an appropriately shady and disreputable place where a man such as Mr Hyde might be expected to live
  2. "The far greater proportion of the building was occupied by the theatre, which filled almost the whole ground storey and was lighted from above, and by the cabinet, which formed an upper storey at one end and looked upon the court. A corridor joined the theatre to the door on the by-street; and with this, the cabinet communicated separately by a second flight of stairs." Which of the following statements is correct?
    The property represents the two "halves" of Dr Jekyll's personality. "Cabinet" here means a private room
  3. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is set in which city?
    At the beginning of the novel, we meet Mr Utterson and his kinsman, Mr Richard Enfield, taking one of their regular Sunday walks
  4. The first chapter of the novel is called 'Story of the Door'. To what door does the title refer?
    Mr Enfield tells his story of following Mr Hyde to that door, but does not realise that the door is an entrance to Dr Jekyll's lab. It is also known as the dissecting room door
  5. When do the events of the novel take place?
    The well-educated, professional men of the novel view themselves as occupying the pinnacle of civilisation
  6. "Some two months before the murder of Sir Danvers, I had been out for one of my adventures, had returned at a late hour, and woke the next day in bed with somewhat odd sensations. It was in vain I looked about me; in vain I saw the decent furniture and tall proportions of my room in the square; in vain that I recognised the pattern of the bed curtains and the design of the mahogany frame; something still kept insisting that I was not where I was." Which of the following is causing Dr Jekyll's consternation in this recollection?
    Dr Jekyll believes he can contain Mr Hyde and keep him in a separate world; he is shocked to go to bed as Jekyll and wake up as Hyde
  7. Mr Utterson maintains his vigil by the mysterious door at all hours of the day, waiting to speak to Mr Hyde. At what time of day does he finally surprise the man?
    Many of the novel's key events take place at night. On the occasion Mr Hyde finally appears, it is 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." Mr Hyde is an anomaly in this clean, ordered and calm atmosphere
  8. "Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east, the line was broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point, a certain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on the street. It was two storeys high; showed no window, nothing but a door on the lower storey and a blind forehead of discoloured wall on the upper; and bore in every feature, the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence." Which language relates the building to Mr Hyde?
    The building is personified and the back entrance to it represents Mr Hyde, who shocks Mr Utterson by possessing a key and having the freedom to come and go from Dr Jekyll's property. It is highly symbolic that Jekyll's home has two well-used entrances: the front, public entrance is associated with the "good" or "civilised" personality, while the back, lower, lab entrance is associated with the disturbing, brutish Mr Hyde
  9. "This brought them to the fireside, where the easy chair was drawn cosily up, and the tea things stood ready to the sitter's elbow, the very sugar in the cup. There were several books on a shelf; one lay beside the tea things open." In Mr Utterson's and Mr Poole's view, who would belong in this cosy scene?
    The reader, unaware by this point that Jekyll and Hyde are the same being, is likely to picture Dr Jekyll in this scene, having only just left his chair a moment before
  10. Which one of the following does NOT characterise London as it is presented in the novel?
    This section, in which Mr Utterson awaits a glimpse of Mr Hyde, encapsulates the simultaneous busy-ness and solitude of London: "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." London is also a place where private deeds are usually observed and discussed

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