When revising any texts for GCSE English Literature, making sure that you are confident with the overall narrative is the first place to start. Before even thinking about memorising quotes, do you know what they all refer to, and where they fit in the story? This is particularly the case for The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – a novel filled with suspense, horror, strange happenings and mysteries.
Being able to confidently talk about key events and how each character changes throughout the book (and what this suggests about the author’s overall message) will massively help your essays. Think of quotes like the sprinkle of fairy-dust on the top, to really bring your points and arguments to life.
I have already written about the historical context for Jekyll and Hyde – so let’s get to work on our revision skills, and putting this all together. First things first, a reminder on the overall plot:
Once you are familiar, and have made notes on the events in the story, you can start organising quotes around key characters and themes…
You could make a card for each key character and theme, filling these with five short and memorable quotes. Practice using these quotations to back-up your close-text analysis (i.e. talking about passages that you might be given in the exam – flip open the book, and pick a page at random!) and incorporate terminology (things like foreshadowing, personification, alliteration etc.). I’ve also written a guide to key terms for GCSE analysis, and if you’re combining all these things – terminology, quotations, context – you’re 99.9% there for a fantastic final grade.
To help you along, I have created a revision crib sheet for Jekyll and Hyde. You can download and print this off. Use it as a starting point and build your own table (or flashcards, mind-maps, online quizzes – whatever works!) – based on the descriptions and phrases that stick in your mind. If you’re after even more quotes as well, here’s a long chapter by chapter list.
So, to summarise your key tasks…
- Sum-up the “character arc” of the main characters in the novel. How are they presented throughout the book, what do they say, and what do their actions reveal about them? Prepare key quotes to back up any points to may have.
- Identify key events and episodes in the book (what are the important ones for each chapter?) – why are they significant to the narrative as a whole, and what broader meaning/messages can we take from them?
- Think about the main themes in the book (i.e. Duality of Human Nature, Reputation, Silence and Secrecy etc.) – provide key quotes for each, that show how these themes develop throughout the book.
These categories are roughly based on the exam questions that you might face, and I’ll write more on key themes, motifs and symbols soon. I promise. Good luck, happy revising, and let me know if you have any questions – I’m always glad to help.
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