Letter is a special form of first person perspective. Stevenson’s narrative mainly followed Utterson’s experiences in order to create suspenses. Using letters from Lanyon and Jekyll, the author cleverly changed the viewpoint from Utterson’s to Lanyon and Jekyll’s, revealing the two doctors’ mental activities. Letter can be a kind of monologue in which characters can fully express themselves without limitations, no matter in the novella or in the real world.
From Lanyon’s letter, we get to know his dilemma, the confusion between his own experience and Jekyll’s discoveries as well as the struggle between protecting his friend and punishing the evil.
From Jekyll’s letter, we know the whole story and the pain inside Jekyll’s heart. After reading the letter, we find Jekyll and Hyde no longer noble doctor and heinous demon, but two separated sides of an ordinary person, which is so ironical and thought-provoking.
In addition, Lanyon’s letter also indicated his attempt to keep Jekyll’s reputation by saying “not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll.” Jekyll also expressed his worry of losing fame in his letter. Along with Utterson’s effort to protect Jekyll’s reputation by expelling Hyde away, the letters help to show us the moral codes of that age, which is a crucial theme of the novella.
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