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Comment on the way Conan Doyle uses the character of Watson in "The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Introduction

Comment on the way Conan Doyle uses the character of Watson in "The Hound of the Baskervilles." You should comment on: * What we know of Watson's character * The voice which Conan Doyle gives Watson to narrate the story. * Why Watson is so important to the way the story works as an example of crime fiction. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel in 1887 after becoming interested in crime and detectives. The books were first written by Conan Doyle because he was interested in the genre. However, when Conan Doyle became interested in spiritualism and mysticism later on in life, he killed off the famous detective in 1893 and wrote books about his new interests. The people who loved Sherlock Holmes and his adventures went into mourning and were distraught when there would be no more books written about him. Later, when Jack the Ripper was wreaking havoc in London by brutally murdering women on the streets of London, after receiving death threats from thousands of people, Conan Doyle brought back Holmes. Even though it was fiction, the books gave the people reading it support, as they believed that they were safe from the Ripper whilst Holmes was around. ...read more.

Middle

This also displays that Watson is very formal in his manner. The role of Watson in this first chapter is simply to set the scene for the reader. Yet, Watson uses direct speech when narrating. This technique makes the novel flow more, as it does not sound like a diary entry and involves the reader more. Watson does not just report on any goings on, even in the opening chapter "I" is used frequently. This shows that Watson is giving opinions because if he was not giving opinions and just facts or reporting on events, "I" would be unnecessary as only descriptions would be given. When Watson is narrating the story though, it seems like he is speaking to the reader: "He had never said as much before, and I have to admit that..." This phrase proves that he is on the same level as the reader because he is communicating with them. Chapter 8 is the first report of Doctor Watson. In this chapter, Watson writes a letter to Sherlock Holmes telling his mentor about his findings and goings-on at Baskerville Hall. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of Watson as a narrator involves the reader more. Around the time that this book was written and published in the magazine "The Strand," crime was high, so the writing of crime fiction was high to make people feel secure. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is slightly different however, as instead of being with a professional detective, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson; two amateur detectives are the main characters. Still, the reader feels safe with Holmes. But in the "Hound of the Baskervilles," a mere sidekick is the main detective. The reader however remains feeling secure, as Watson is the narrator. Watson is a vital part of the Sherlock Holmes novels because he shares feelings, opinions and thoughts with the reader; this makes the reader believe all that Watson says and does, but they can also sympathize with him and share all of his feelings. Without Doctor John Watson narrating the novels, they would not be the same as he is the readers' eyes and ears, so without him, the reader could not be as involved in the story and would not solve the mystery like Sherlock Holmes! ...read more.

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