How does Stevenson use language in ‘the Carew murder case’ to create an impression of horrific violence and gothic horror?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 4, Hyde's capacity for evil is shown. His vicious nature becomes apparent with the violent murder of Carew. Hyde kills at random, with no apparent motive and little concern for getting caught, as he beats Carew to death in the middle of a public street. Stevenson describes Hyde as "he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying a madman". Then he says, "Mr. Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth...with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered..." This is a very graphic description of the murder itself.

Stevenson describes the city as Utterson is taking the police to Hyde's rooms. A fog grips the city, swirling through the neighborhoods, making them seem "like a district of some city in a nightmare". The fact that Utterson is expressing these thoughts shows the horror of Hyde's actions. Stevenson goes on to say, "The thoughts of his mind, besides, were of the gloomiest dye; and when he glanced at the companion of his drive, he was conscious of some touch of that terror of the law and the law's officers,..."

These are examples of the evocative language used to show the sense of the uncanny in what would otherwise be a dry narrative. It hints at Utterson's darker side as well as the book's darker side.

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