This GCSE English Literature quiz will challenge you on setting in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A text’s setting refers to the location and the time in which its events take place. But the meaning of the term extends beyond these basics. Oftentimes, it can be easy to forget that texts frequently have several settings, since events usually occur in different places and times. Buildings and spaces provide individual settings within the general setting, and these specific settings often contrast with one another. Events occurring as a backdrop to the main events of the text are a crucial element in a text’s setting, as are political and social issues. This wider fictional world which can be glimpsed, or to which characters refer, is known as context (it is important not to confuse this fictional context, which is integral to the setting of a text, with the author’s real-life context).
Atmosphere, another key element of setting, will usually change over the course of a text.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde seems to occupy a dual world which parallels the dual nature of man, as proposed by Jekyll. Public London is a daytime place inhabited by professional men who call upon one another, dine together and take Sunday walks. Its other aspect is that of the darkness, the private, the secluded, the dream-like, a world in which men stroll about at night for no clearly stated reason.
In addition to the “labyrinthine” streets of London, Dr Jekyll’s home is a key focus of the novella. Pay close attention to the descriptions of entrances and exits, furnishings, environment and atmosphere of the lab and the cabinet. What effect do these settings have as you read the text? How well can you envisage the streets and the interior spaces? Which of the settings appear most dream-like?
It is useful to remember that a text’s setting also includes geographical elements such as region, country, environment, landscapes and buildings. Pay close attention to the interaction of characters with their various environments. How might such interactions affect the text?
Answer the questions below on setting in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.