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Rock Street, San Francisco

The story opens with a third person narrative. We are told about Mr Utterson; his personality, lifestyle and qualities. We are told that Utterson is Jekyll’s lawyer and that he has some suspicions about the shadowy friend of Jekyll, Mr Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson could have moved on to tell us about other characters including Jekyll and Hyde but instead he stays with Utterson’s narrative.

Stevenson has a good reason for this. The effect is to keep us (the Victorian readers) in the dark, along with Utterson. We share his sense of mystery, fear and bewilderment as we ponder the situation that unfolds. This makes us focus more clearly on the themes of the nature of evil and man’s divided self. Most importantly though, it makes us keep turning the pages.

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