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Explain one characteristic of a gothic setting present in The Strange Case of Dr....

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vslader13120 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2012 at 4:48 PM via web

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Explain one characteristic of a gothic setting present in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM (Answer #1)

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Typically, a Gothic setting is in that of a castle. While a castle is not always necessary, the atmosphere of a Gothic text is always mysterious ans suspenseful.

That said, the Gothic setting of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one which takes place in London. Although not in a castle, like many Gothic texts, the setting her is more important based upon how the characters feel in the setting which they are in. The characters do not have to be in a castle to feel anxious, instead, the block of Soho is sinister in its own right.

In the opening of the novel, the setting is openly described as mysterious and worrisome:

Certain sinister block of building [which] bore in every feature, the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence.

Here, the buildings which surrounded the men are frightening enough to appeal to the Gothic nature of the story. Following the description of the buildings, Mr. Enfield tells Jekyll about a time he witnessed a man literally run over a little girl while walking.

Through these two descriptions, the reader can come to assume that a dark side of London is being used as the backdrop to the story. Therefore, the setting's dark, mysterious, and suspenseful nature is Gothic.

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