How does Stevenson create suspense in “THE LAST NIGHT”?
Stevenson creates suspense in “The Last Night” by withholding information from the reader and by creating a gothic setting which reflects contemporary fears in London in the19th century. He also uses the character of Mr Hyde to create suspense by referring to the ideas of Darwin.
Stevenson had already created suspense before the chapter had begun through the knowledge we have of Mr Hyde. His character we know of links in to the ideas of Darwin. “And this was more of a dwarf”, Hyde is described as a dwarfish and primitive person, this Links in to the ideas of Darwin of how cave men evolved from apes and how we evolved from cave men. The fear of the Victorians is that since man had evolved from animals he has the same lack of control over emotions as animals.
He also creates suspense through the character of Poole. The question raised on Poole’s appearance in the night is why has he come at this time of the night? Poole had come on his own initiative, which a butler under no circumstances would do without his master’s permission. When Utterson questioned him he answered “There’s something wrong.” Stevenson uses withholding information as a technique to create suspense; he does not tell us what is wrong straight away. The sort of questions that arise in the readers mind is: why has he come, what’s wrong, why has Poole come and not Dr Jekyll, what could be possibly wrong that Poole can’t handle alone. “I am afraid” Poole is afraid which makes the reader think that something terrible has happened. Poole says to Utterson that “there’s been foul play” this confirms the readers doubt that something bad has happened. It also raises the question has murder taken place?
The atmosphere is also another technique he uses to create suspense. On the way to Dr Jekyll’s house, Mr Utterson and Poole go through a fearful setting. “It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March,” he starts off with this line to create the tone of the setting. This is also a typical way of setting the scene for a fearful atmosphere used in gothic novels. He uses the contemporary fears of London in the 19th century. In the book it says “Mr Utterson thought he had never seen that part of London so deserted.” This creates a sense of loneliness in the readers mind. Anything can creep up on to you and if something happened know one would help because there is no one there.
Before the breaking of the door was another section were tension starts to build. Poole mentions he has seen a creature: he did not call the thing he saw a person, he called it a creature and a creature could mean any living thing, so it could be an animal or a human. Poole also says that he saw someone jump up from chemicals and whipped into a cupboard like a monkey. This also refers back to the ideas of Darwin of how we evolved from apes. Poole claims that it was Hyde that he had seen which increases our fears because anything to do with Hyde is...