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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson

Chapters 6–7

Summary Chapters 6–7

But the novel is permeated by other silences as well, more akin to refusals than failures to speak: Lanyon refuses to describe to Utterson what he has seen; Jekyll declines to discuss his relationship with Hyde; after witnessing Jekyll’s strange disappearance from the window, Utterson and Enfield say almost nothing about it; and Utterson carries out an informal investigation of Hyde and Jekyll but never mentions his suspicions to anyone. This second set of silences derives not so much from being involuntarily awestruck by the uncanny, but rather points to an acknowledgment of a situation that exceeds the boundaries of logic, yet with an unwillingness to pursue it further or express it openly. Such unwillingness seems to stem, in turn, from a concern for reputation and public morality. Significantly, both Jekyll and Lanyon leave written records of what they have seen and done but insist that these records not be opened until after their deaths. In other words, the truth can be exposed only after the death of the person whose reputation it might ruin. Stevenson may suggest that such refusals to discuss the grittier side of life mirror a similar tendency in Victorian society at large.