Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Letters and Documents Symbol Analysis

Letters and Documents Symbol Icon
There are many complicated, convoluted interactions between the characters in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Confessions, transferals of responsibility, and even the narrative itself are all forms of documentation that create the suspense and mystery of the book. The characters are often sworn to secrecy or are repressing their own disgust or disbelief and therefore tend to put their feelings in writing rather than speaking or revealing details to each other. This creates a web of secret documents that weaves its way between scenes and between characters. The story begins with the lawyer Utterson’s fear of the new will of Dr. Jekyll – this document holds power over him and over Jekyll – and the final three documents that Utterson finds left to him from Dr. Jekyll make clear everything that the will obscured. In this way, Stevenson frames the whole novel with items of documentation, and plays with the line between myth and truth.
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Letters and Documents Symbol Timeline in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The timeline below shows where the symbol Letters and Documents appears in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Innocence and Violence Theme Icon
...in the lane along with half of the cane, a purse of money, and a letter addressed to Mr. Utterson. (full context)
Chapter 5
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
...anymore. Dr. Jekyll’s anxious manner worries Utterson. Jekyll admits that he is possession of a letter from Hyde, and he is unsure whether to show it to the police. Utterson is... (full context)
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Innocence and Violence Theme Icon
Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Icon
...explains that the envelope wouldn’t make a difference in terms of evidence anyway, because the letter was hand-delivered. Utterson asks if he should take the letter away with him. Jekyll responds... (full context)
Chapter 6
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Icon
Utterson decides to write to Dr. Jekyll, demanding answers. Jekyll replies in a long, tragic letter. He says first that he doesn’t blame Lanyon for their falling out but also doesn’t... (full context)
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Icon
...funeral, Utterson, in an emotional state, sits down in his study and brings out a letter from Lanyon, addressed to Utterson with a strict instruction on the envelope that the document... (full context)
Chapter 8
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
They examine Jekyll’s desk and find a letter addressed to Utterson. Inside are several documents, including another will, much like the previous one... (full context)
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Utterson reads the letter. Jekyll writes that if Utterson is reading these words it means that he, Jekyll, has... (full context)
Chapter 9
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Icon
Chapter Nine is the letter Lanyon asked Utterson not to open until both Lanyon and Jekyll have died. Lanyon starts... (full context)