'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'
Having a clear understanding of who is who in the novel is essential to understand the novel well.
As a novella, the story gets to the point quickly and the only characters present are ones who help to move the story along. We can think of them as being functional, everything we learn about them relates to the plot. We may also see them in terms of how they represent ideas or themes, so be alert to this as you are analysing the text.
However, if that was the only purpose each character served, then we would see them as 'flat', like cardboard cut-outs. The challenge for Stevenson was to create believable characters but to avoid detail for the sake of detail. You can see how you respond to them and develop your personal opinion as to how successfully Stevenson managed his characterisation.
If you can imagine R L Stevenson, sitting at his desk and planning the best way to tell his story, it becomes easier to see the characters as 'creations' and not 'people'. They do not have lives beyond the pages of the story and it helps you gain marks if you can show you get this when you write about them.
One way to do this is to use phrases like: "Stevenson presents the character of Dr Jekyll as...." or: "The writer shows how Hyde is a violent character when he..."This shows the examiner that you understand that the writer is using his characters to make the story unfold. This may feel a bit clumsy, but you just need to get the message across that you really get the idea that a writer crafts his characters for a purpose!
You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.