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Analyse Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" exploring how the author uses the devices of detective fiction within the novel to create suspense and mystery.

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Introduction

Analyse Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" exploring how the author uses the devices of detective fiction within the novel to create suspense and mystery. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of the most famous writers of detective fiction and the creator of the brilliant characters Sherlock Holmes and his right-hand man Dr.Watson, Sherlock Homes being one of the best known detectives. Conan Doyle, the son of a civil servant was born in Edinburgh in 1859. Later he studied for his degree in medicine and then in 1885 after graduating he decided to set up as a doctor. In order to fill in quiet moments at work he decided to write detective stories. "A Study in Scarlet" which appeared in1887, introduced the detective Sherlock Holmes, whose appearances in several other stories made him and his character household names. Conan Doyle's use of complex and ingenious plots, keeps the reader interested and creates suspense and mystery, which suggests that Conan Doyle may be responsible for some features of the detective fiction genre. The way in which Conan Doyle portrays Sherlock Holmes as being an arrogant man with a high intellect who uses his own deductive methods and elementary approach, also suggests that Conan Doyle may be responsible for some features of the genre. The book "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (THOTB) was published in 1902 which is reflected in the novel as we get a wonderful sense of late Victorian England. A point which we must not forget is that "THOTB" is based upon the legend of the hell hound in Black Shuck, on the North Norfolk coast. According to the legend the hell hound roamed the coast of North Norfolk and scared people to death. However Conan Doyle moved the setting of his novel "THOTB" to Devonshire so that he could create the story of "THOTB". He may have also thought that Devon's desolate moorland, could make the novel more exciting and create a greater sense of suspense and mystery for the reader. ...read more.

Middle

However Holmes then replies with the above comment, which shows that Holmes is working on a totally different intellect to the ordinary person, as shown by the comparison between Holmes and Watson. Holmes dismisses Watson's "excellent", which shows that he thinks it is simple, where as to Watson it seems that Holmes has thought analytically using his knowledge to come out with this new insight. The detective almost always keeps most of the findings of a case to himself. Sherlock Holmes reveals limited regarding any new findings in the case. This is evident when we discover that Holmes has actually been upon the moor looking for any strange activities, for the same period of time that Watson has been at Baskerville Hall. He had not informed anyone, not even Watson of his presence upon the moor. "There can be no doubt about the matter. They meet, they write, there is a complete understanding between them....this puts a very powerful weapon in our hands" Holmes "His wife?" Watson, chapter 12 This quotation shows that as a result of Holmes gathering evidence without anybody knowing and keeping it to himself, it makes his revelations much more impressive, not only to Watson but for the reader. It seems that the reader will not believe something if Holmes has not commented or actually discovered that finding. Holmes's arrogance towards other characters especially Watson is evident throughout the book. An example of this is when Holmes asks Watson to analyse a walking stick to determine who it belongs to. "Dr. Mortimer is a successful elderly medical man....a country practioneer" Watson "Really Watson, you excel yourself...interesting although elementary" Holmes We can see that Holmes humiliates Watson by being sarcastic, however Watson thinks he has done well. Then he realise that Holmes was being sarcastic when he said the findings were elementary, which insults Watson's intelligence and shows how arrogant Holmes can be. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conan Doyle uses a number of different techniques to create atmosphere and mystery. In the first paragraph we see what they have left behind as "gold and glowing" and the metaphor "a low sun turning streams to threads of gold" emphasises that this land is rich and beautiful. The narrator then begins to talk about what is coming ahead of them as "bleaker and wilder" and again the use of colours "russet and olive slopes" shows how the actual geography of the land is changing. This creates a sense of atmosphere as the narrator is telling us how things are changing from being nice and beautiful. The use of the simile "suddenly looked down into a cup-like" depression just shows how rapidly the surroundings and atmosphere are changing. Once they have arrived at the gates of Baskerville hall, the writer begins to describe the area as being great and fantastic, this is shown by "a maze of fantastic tracery in wrought iron" and "first fruit of Sir Charles's South African gold.", this causes the reader to doubt whether evil goings on happen here. However as we pass through the gateway the narrator's feelings change "looked up the long, dark drive to where the house glimmered like a ghost at the farther end". This simile gives the reader a feeling of a gloomy place and it also creates suspense because of the narrator's ambivalent feelings. When the narrator describes the house as being behind a "dark veil", this also creates a sense of mystery as it seems the narrator is trying to imply that something is hidden behind the ivory, there is more going on than what it seems. (third paragraph and layout) We can see that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses the devices of detective fiction to a great extent throughout the novel. However he has also created some devices namely the nature of the investigation and Watson acting as the narrator. The reason for this is to make his book unique whilst still maintaining a sense of suspense and mystery throughout to keep the reader hooked and interested. Kashif Anwar 11 LKJS ...read more.

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