Hound of the Baskervilles
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Hound of the Baskervilles coursework. This piece of coursework aims to show how Arthur Conan Doyle uses the setting and language to successfully create atmosphere and tension in the story of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" Arthur Conan Doyle lived in London in the late 19th century. His career was not exactly very successful in the early stages of his life. It started as him being a doctor onboard a ship, he was then an general practitioner in Southsea, but this career did not work for him either, and later he became an unsuccessful optician! So Doyle made the decision to dedicate himself to writing. Undoubtedly his most famous works are the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. They were loved by all the public, who made Holmes a cult figure. At the time, the streets of London were full of crime. There were uncountable murders occurring and there was always someone breaking the law, whether it was petty theft, stealing, or even murder. The police force at the time were very disorganised and undisciplined and there were only a few of them who actually did their jobs properly and an even smaller number that were actually out on the streets. This enabled London to become a crime infested city, with such well-known criminals as Jack the Ripper being able to kill without being caught. This influenced Doyle's writing to a great extent. Holmes was made to be the perfect gentlemen and detective. He always caught his man and was always dressed in very smart gentleman like clothes, precisely the kind of person London needed, and nothing like the police force at that time. This is why he became an instant success.
This second quote gives an image of a darker, supernatural and more mysterious moor. Since darkness is usually associated with evil, it may connotate a presence of evil about the moor, which will give the reader a first impression of the moor being a very scary and uninhabited place. This mixes well with the legend of the hound, which is also considered supernatural and evil. Another interpretation we can take from this paragraph is that it is trying to say that the deeper you go into the moor, the more the darkness and gloomy it becomes. It is as if you are moving into a storm, it gets more and more violent and more unbearable the further you go in. Another quote, which emphasises this is "but behind the peaceful and sunlit countryside there rose ever, dark against the evening sky, the long gloomy curve of the moor, broken by the jagged and sinister hills." This also emphasises the idea that as you get further and further into the moor, the atmosphere and weather gets darker and more sinister. It is also giving the reader the impression that the moor may look nice on the outside, but once you go in it has an evil in it that shown in many ways, such as the dark and foggy weather. Within the moor there are many dangers like Selden the escaped convict and the hound, but none are greater than Grimpen mire. This is a bog in the central part of the moor. Throughout the book it is used as a source of atmosphere, and because of its ability to swallow a horse fully, it is also said to act as though its alive, which adds to the supernatural effect of the moor.
The weather affects the plot because it creates a dark and gloomy setting for the story to be set in. If the story was set in a sunny area it would be a lot harder for Doyle to create atmosphere and setting. "The moon shone on it, and it looked like a great shimmering ice-field, with the heads of the distant tors as rocks borne upon its surface...The stars shone cold and bright, while a half-moon bathed the whole scene in a soft, uncertain light." These are two quotes that show how Doyle uses descriptive language to describe the weather on the moor. They give the reader a picture of a cold and desolate landscape that is plagued with strange noises and peculiar shapes. This is important because it allows the characters to be alert at all times, giving the reader the impression that something is about to happen, and therefore successfully keeping them reading. In conclusion, all of the elements I have discussed so far contribute in creating a perfect setting and a dark, mysterious and dangerous atmosphere. Doyle makes this story a frightening horror story by using strong descriptive language and the use of imagery, this is a very clever and simple way of creating an enormous effect on the reader because they imagine they are in the story and can therefore experience the suspense and thrill in a first person view. This story was very effective when I read it, I especially liked the end few chapters where the suspense and atmosphere were peaking. This book really pulled me into the story and made me feel as though I was one of the people in the story, and all of these events were happening to me. This is why I think this book is so very effective in creating a powerful setting and atmosphere.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Conan Doyle section.
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