This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at language. Language in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde draws on science, psychology, a fascination with the mystic and the spiritual, the conventions of civilised society and the seedy side of nineteenth-century London. Descriptions are often poetic, sometimes visceral. Stevenson creates a sense of a dark and mysterious London, even when describing events which take place in daylight or inside comfortable homes, in front of homey fires. Descriptions often hint at unseen, inexplicable realities beyond the edge of reason.
A text is understood primarily through its language, which authors choose with precision. Pay close attention to individual words and phrases, remembering to consider possible symbolic meanings and associations that lie beyond the obvious literal meanings. An author creates imagery, such as metaphor, simile and personification, and other literary effects, through the thoughtful use of language. The effective creation of setting, characterisation and dialogue depends entirely on an author’s skilful deployment of language.
By paying very close attention to the detail contained in the language of a text, you will greatly increase your understanding. Linger over words and imagery, exploring language choice and the potential for multiple meanings rather than automatically settling for the surface meaning. Try to consider the possibilities which each individual choice of words, or combinations of words, suggests. Notice what comes to mind as you read. Giving time and care to the language will greatly improve your ability to analyse literature.
Answer the questions below to develop your understanding of the way language choices affect the reader’s interpretation of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.