Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 7

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 7 of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Chapter 7 : Incident at the Window | Summary

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Summary

One Sunday Utterson and Enfield go for a walk. As they pass by the door into which Hyde had gone in the first chapter, the conversation turns to Hyde. Enfield suggests they will never see him again. Both men explain how meeting Hyde filled them with revulsion. Enfield then admits he feels foolish that he didn't know the door led to Jekyll's home, at which Utterson says he's worried about Jekyll and suggests they step into the courtyard. From there they view Jekyll sitting at a window. They invite him out and, since he looks unhealthy, suggest that getting outside will be good for his health. Jekyll turns them down, saying it is impossible for him to come out just then. Nevertheless, they agree to talk where they are, and everyone is happy. Suddenly, however, Jekyll looks terrified. The window slams shut, and Jekyll disappears without a word. His two friends walk away, silent for a time but very disturbed.

Analysis

Here again Stevenson uses classic techniques from Gothic and horror fiction: he shows just a glimpse of something along with a character's response to it, and then prevents the reader from learning any more. In this case Utterson and Enfield stand in for the reader. When Jekyll disappears from their sight, he disappears from the reader's view as well. This episode builds yet more suspense. Readers will later learn that Jekyll has to flee the window because he is losing control of his physical form: he is changing into Hyde.

The different stages of the chapter work together well. It is no accident that Utterson and Enfield are discussing Hyde before they see Jekyll. It makes logical sense, as they are in view of the door discussed in the first chapter. It also makes social sense: Hyde is a public topic of conversation in London. And finally, it makes narrative sense. Without Stevenson coming out and saying "think of Hyde when you see Jekyll," having one topic follow another links them logically and emotionally. Stevenson is foreshadowing and underscoring their intimacy.

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