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Free Study Guide-Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson-Synopsis
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 7: Incident at the Window

Summary

One Sunday, Enfield and Utterson are walking again when they come to the strange door at which the story began. Enfield, who has by now, of course, like the rest of London, heard all about Mr. Hyde, says that the story is at least at and end, and Utterson expresses the hope that it is. He tells him that he once saw Mr. Hyde and felt the same sense of revulsion as did Enfield, but does not say anything more of what he knows. Enfield reveals that he has learned that the door is, indeed, the back entrance of Jekyll's house, and he chastises Utterson for withholding the information.


Utterson says that he is concerned about Dr. Jekyll and feels that the presence of a friend might help him. As they step into the courtyard, they look up and see Dr. Jekyll sitting at one of the windows, looking like "some disconsolate prisoner." Utterson tells him that he should not stay inside so much. Jekyll seems pleased to see his friends, but says that he cannot admit them up. He is happy, however, to talk to them from the window. Suddenly, his face changes, becoming so horrible and miserable that they are terrified. They have only a brief glimpse of it, however, before the window is shut.

They both walk on, too terrified to talk. Only when they come to a busy part of the street does Utterson dares to look at his companion. "God forgive us," he says. Enfield nods his head seriously and they walk on in silence.

Notes

This is a compact and significant scene. Its setting is the street before the back of Jekyll's house, where the mystery began. Most of what the reader knows so far is through the observations of Utterson and Enfield, with only a few interjections by the narrator. They are sharp and observant men, and thus it is horrifying when their conversation with Dr. Jekyll, which is bright and almost normal, suddenly turns sour. Something horrible has indeed happened -- or is happening -- to Dr. Jekyll, and Enfield and Utterson are unwilling witnesses to it. "God forgive us," Utterson says when he is able to talk, and Enfield just nods silently. The two men, of course, have seen the beginning of the transformation of Jekyll into Hyde, although Stevenson does not yet reveal this information to the reader. Stevenson's intention is to prolong the suspense, and this scene helps him to achieve that intention excellently.

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