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Essay: Utterson state of mind

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  • Published: June 18, 2021*
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  • Words: 620 (approx)
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  • Utterson state of mind
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In this extract Utterson is presented by Stevenson as an individual in a contradicting state of two minds, who is also very concerned for his close friend Mr Jekyll. Stevenson describes Utterson’s imagination as ‘engaged, or rather enslaved’ as his mind is restless from thinking about this ‘human Juggernaut’ in the name of Hyde. This word ‘enslaved’ suggests that Utterson has lost his freedom of choice or action and despite what his rational conscious tells him what he ought to do, when he is trying to go to sleep, his imagination separates from his usual unimpressionable state and the irrational side of him. Stevenson also tells us that ‘as he lay and tossed in the gross darkness of the night and the curtained room, Mr Enfield’s tale went by before his mind in a scroll of lighted pictures.’ This quotation can help us to further develop that Utterson is a prisoner of his own mind as he is on his own in the ‘gross darkness’ and the enclosed ‘curtained room’. To an average person falling asleep in a dark, curtained room is a very ordinary action to complete as we do it so often. However, tonight this ordinary seeming description has been adapted to help show Utterson’s troubled mind that even the most typical acts are still a haunting experience for him.

The effect of the language used to present the setting here shows us that even in his own home, a place where one should feel peaceful and most comfortable as it is your personal space, Utterson however, appears to be the opposite, anxious and at war with his mind. Utterson’s nightmare is randomly precise and seems thought-out. This could either be because previously Mr Enfield described the ‘tale’ to Utterson, so he knows what the moment was like, or just sub-consciously Utterson’s mind has been painting the picture and filling in the gaps to try help him solve the figure that is Hyde. Utterson’s nightmare consists of ‘wider labyrinths of lamp-lighted city’ in which ‘at every street corner’ Hyde would crush a child and leave her screaming while he would ‘glide more stealthily through sleeping houses’ suggesting that Hyde must be super-natural. This shows that when Utterson’s rational mindset isn’t in complete control, in this case when is he asleep, he is able to see that Hyde is a super-natural being, but his closed-minded mentality is what prevents Utterson from ever solving the idea of Jekyll and Hyde.

The significance of horror in this extract is more apparent the further you read; at the start we are told about Utterson’s enslavement to the idea of Hyde. Stevenson sets the tone of fear in this extract with ‘gross darkness’ as it lightly suggests Utterson’s discomfort. Stevenson then presents Hyde in this extract as an unescapable creature mentally and physically for Utterson. Hyde is described to ‘move the more swiftly’, which shows that if Hyde comes after you, he is too swift for you and he will catch you and crush you. He also appears at ‘every corner’ showing that wherever you go, Hyde will be waiting for you. Hyde’s super-natural qualities help to create a sense of horror in this extract and haunts the reader when thinking about that ‘human Juggernaut trod the child down’, even the verb ‘trod’ enhances Hyde’s horrific actions as it suggests he did it casually and with very little care, showing his in-humane nature.

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