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Physical Mutation and Narrative Alteration in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has been extensively analysed through psychological and historical approaches. In this thesis, I focus on the physical characteristics of Jekyll’s experiment and its relation to the narrative style and the setting. I show that there is a representational relationship between the setting and Jekyll’s mutation, and that this relation only emerges via the logically driven character Mr Utterson acting as a narrative window. The shift between Jekyll and Hyde is one of alteration or mutation rather than the metamorphosis or transformation critics have previously suggested. By drawing on concepts within possible worlds theory, and more specifically, the concept of minimal departure developed by Marie-Laure Ryan as well as relating notions, an alteration of the narrative represented by the mutation of Jekyll is elucidated. The analysis shows that we at first perceive Jekyll or Hyde, represented by two metaphors within the setting. It shows that these alter as the real relationship between Jekyll and Hyde is revealed, and we perceive Jekyll and Hyde simultaneously, represented by one metaphor within the setting. Indeed, it is a question of Jekyll and Hyde rather than Jekyll or Hyde. The analysis further shows that the narrative alteration emerges through the character Mr Utterson, and in addition emphasises the fact that the words ‘alteration’ and ‘mutation’ more accurately define the mysterious relationship between Jekyll and Hyde. By approaching the novella in the way suggested in this thesis, new depths of strangeness and entanglements are discovered within this peculiar tale.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 18
Keywords [en]
Marie-Laure Ryan; narrative window; alteration/mutation; narrative style; setting
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-164800OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-164800DiVA, id: diva2:1280310
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Available from: 2019-02-13 Created: 2019-01-18 Last updated: 2019-02-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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  • html
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  • asciidoc
  • rtf