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Hound Of The Baskervilles

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Introduction

English literature Unit 1:prose Task: To identify the ways in which Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" can be considered a piece of gothic literature. Gothic literature is a mysterious and grotesque style of fiction writing, often based on legends and myths. The gothic style of literature deals with eerie events and sombre settings. Gothic stories are usually set in forests; moors; hills or other remote areas, away from the boundaries of normality and civilization. The gothic period is believed to have begun in 1764 and the popularity of the genre continued to 1840. Around this time, a belief in supernatural occurrences and witchcraft arose; beliefs, which count towards the origins of gothic literature around this time, as people's interest the genre, grew. The first famous gothic author was Horace Walpole who wrote "The castle of Otranto." Many other well known gothic writers followed, including Ann Radcliffe; Edgar Allan Poe; Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle. Famous gothic titles include "The legend of Sleepy Hollow", "Frankenstein", "The Raven" and "Dracula." The settings of gothic stories include those of manors; halls; castles and other residences of wealthy characters, often lords and ladies. These buildings, from the way they are described, have a distinct gothic style of architecture. The architectural features of these buildings include pillars; gargoyles; arches and points; oak interiors and dark d�cor, resulting in buildings which are majestic and mysterious, impressive and oppressive. Atmosphere is strongly evident in gothic stories and the general atmosphere is a dreary; mysterious; dark one. This atmosphere is frequently portrayed using severe weather conditions such as rain and snow. The stories are usually set in the decaying days of autumn and the dark days of winter and the horror normally occurs at night. Typical characters of gothic literature include those of dogs or wolves; lords and other rich people. Most gothic story lines comprise of a vicious, evil male who is abusive towards innocent, helpless females. ...read more.

Middle

The two main buildings in the novel are Baskerville Hall and Merripit House. These two locations are described when the characters first arrive at Baskerville Hall in chapter 6 and when they first visit Merripit House in chapter 7. Primarily the buildings are described through the observations of Dr. Watson. The general feeling of these buildings is a creepy one. At the beginning of chapter 6 Dr. Watson describes the outside of Baskerville Hall by saying "weather-bitten pillars". "Pillars" are a common feature of gothic buildings and the fact that they are "weather bitten" shows that they are old and also reinforces the idea of hostile weather conditions. The harsh "tt" sound within "bitten" emphasise the hostile weather conditions and give the impression that the outside of the building is rough and imposing. Also in chapter 6 Dr. Watson observes, "The whole front was draped in ivy" and ivy-covered walls frequently appear in gothic novels and are usual of gothic buildings. Ivy covered walls give a blanketing effect and the image created by an ivy covered wall gives a gloomy impression. Later in chapter 6 DR. Watson talks about the towers of Baskerville Hall: "the twin towers, ancient, crenellated, and pierced with many loopholes." Crenellated walls of towers appear regularly in gothic architecture and are often featured in gothic novels because they add to the impression of the buildings being towering and forbidding. Further into chapter 6 Dr. Watson describes Baskerville Hall as "large, lofty and heavily raftered". The oak paneling of the building is also depicted in chapter 6 through Dr. Watson's observation "huge balks of age-blackened oak" and "the oak paneling." Oak paneling and heavily raftered rooms often occur in gothic architecture and are common features of gothic buildings. They also make the rooms in gothic buildings seem very dark causing a negative impression. "High, thin window of old stained glass" is dr. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is clear that Arthur Conan Doyle's novel "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a piece of gothic literature for many reasons. The landscape within the novel is grim and dangerous which landscapes in gothic novels usually are. These harsh landscapes cause a sense of mystery for the reader. Also the negative weather conditions featured in the novel are common in gothic literature. These weather conditions include rain; snow; strong wind and general cold, hostile and unpleasant climates. These kind of weather conditions add to the sense of mystery and danger that the reader feels. The characters within "The Hound of the Baskervilles" share the personalities of many characters from gothic novels such as male tyrants, female victims and rich, powerful people. The characters add a sense of intrigue for the reader. The legends in pieces of gothic literature normally include supernatural occurrences and horrific events both of which are features of the legend of the hound. The legends within gothic novels affect the reader by creating a sense of horror. The buildings within "The Hound of the Baskervilles" have a distinct gothic style of architecture, which includes oak panelling; heavily raftered rooms; high partitioned windows and crenallated outer walls. The buildings within the novel create a spooky atmosphere, which is common of buildings in gothic literature. All of these similarities between "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and other novels from the gothic period show that "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a piece of gothic literature. I think gothic literature continues to be popular because the plots are unpredictable and often dark which is appealing to the reader. Also the settings in gothic novels are very atmospheric which adds depth to the novels. The authors of gothic novels are very descriptive which brings the novels to life for the reader. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" has a very interesting plot, lots of horrific events and plenty of creepy settings, all of which help to keep the reader interested. This is why the novel has proven to be so popular. By Kay Clark ...read more.

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