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How does Arthur Conan Doyle use features of the detective and gothic genres to build tension in chapter 6 of "The Hound of the Baskervilles?

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Introduction

How does Arthur Conan Doyle use features of the detective and gothic genres to build tension in chapter 6 of "The Hound of the Baskervilles? "The Hound of the Baskervilles" was written by the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930). Doyle is famous for being the creator of one of literature's greatest characters - the master detective, Sherlock Holmes. Inspired by local legends of ghostly hounds that roamed Dartmoor, the tale was published in 1901, within a few days the novel had become extremely popular with the public. Crime writing was very popular in the 19th century, people found it to be very entertaining. The "Hound of the Baskervilles" is described as a pure classic of crime fiction. During this essay I will explore all of the classic features and techniques that Arthur Conan Doyle has used to build tension, I will be focusing mainly on the features of the gothic genre and detective genre that Conan Doyle has used in chapter 6. Arthur Conan Doyle uses many features of the gothic genre. These include detailed descriptions of wild and isolated landscapes; this classic feature of the gothic genre is portrayed in chapter 6. Conan Doyle uses strong, powerful imagery to emphasize the features he is attempting to portray to the reader. Conan Doyle successfully achieves this whilst describing the moor through the character of Watson: "... melancholy hill, with a straight jagged summit, dim and vague..." Here Conan Doyle has used features of the gothic genre he has done this by using words such as "melancholy" this connotes sadness and gloom. ...read more.

Middle

It's as if the building has a hidden meaning, but covered by this screen of foliage. This creates tension, as Doyle has described the building as a human. This makes it easier for the reader to relate to. Arthur Conan Doyle uses a range of characters, from clever detectives to common taxi drivers. With a large variety of characters it gives the reader a bigger picture, and helps them to relate to different characters. The characters seem to keep the flow at a steady pace throughout the novel. The relationship betweens different characters are mostly calm and complex. Strong bonds are made between characters, for example Dr James Mortimer and Sir Henry Baskerville become very good friends. This keeps the novel going. Doyle has attempted to balance out the dark, ghostly and supernatural surroundings with blissful, contented friendships: "...Surely you will stay have some dinner?" Doyle wants the reader to not only be engaged in the evil side of the novel but also understand the friendly, cheerful side too. This quote is also revealing Sir Henry's Baskervilles personality. The author is showing that Henry is very laid back person, and has been brought up with polite manners and respect for others. Conan Doyle has cleverly showed Henry as an extremely well mannered, easy going person. This makes the reader almost feel sorry for him, as he is unaware about what lies for him later on in the novel. Arthur Conan Doyle uses feelings of fear and looming danger frequently throughout chapter 6. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another example of the victim feature is portrayed through the character of Watson. They way he is treated, and gets put down by Sherlock Holmes may have an effect on the audience. They may sympathize with Watson and almost feel sorry for him: "...said Holmes with a mischievous smile..." This quote suggests that Holmes is "rubbing" it in Watson's face. He has purposely picked at little faults made by Watson, knowing he wouldn't have made them himself. He is almost putting Watson down. We could argue that maybe Holmes is knocking Watson's self esteem. The author has used this clever emotive language to capture the audience's sympathy for Watson. Therefore in the reader's eye he could be interpreted as a victim. By using this clever detective of who the victim could be. Doyle has created tension for the reader. He is getting them to think and make their own individual decisions on who the victim is. To conclude my essay, I would like to summarize and conclude my findings. Starting with the features of the gothic genre. Conan Doyle presents the features of this genre effectively, and builds tension in the appropriate places. He presents the imagery of darkness with strong emotive language; the language has a great impact on the reader. Next is the Detective genre, he has presented Sherlock Holmes in a good light throughout the novel. Holmes was a popular man in the 19th Century therefore Doyle presents him in a bright image. Doyle has been successful in presenting both genres to his maximum potential. He continues to keep the tension flowing throughout the novel which works well. ...read more.

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