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How does Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle create interest and suspense in the opening three chapters of The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Introduction

How does Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle create interest and suspense in the opening three chapters of The Hound of the Baskervilles? When Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was writing The Hound of the Baskervilles it was the era of Queen Victoria. He used Victorian England for the setting because it increased tension. The Victorian times were a frightening and eerie time. There were flickering gas lamps, which lit the streets casting scary shadows, and also there was a weak police force and crime, prostitution, drug abuse and murders were common. Factories made the streets dark, smoky and dreary and there was often fog that was caused by the smoky factories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's style of writing in Hound of the Baskervilles is the typical classic English mystery style because it has several predictable elements such as an isolated house, a corpse, a small group of people who are all suspects and a detective. It also tells the reader clues so they can make their own mind up from a narrator in this case Watson- who is a loyal companion to Sherlock Holmes: "Well, Watson what do you make of it?" This shows that Watson and Sherlock Holmes are a team. However Holmes is the brain of the team Watson is more of the associate of Holmes. The fact that Watson isn't as clever as Holmes means that Watson can't work things out so the reader has to wait for things to be explained by Holmes. Holmes is removed from the action in this book because he'd give too much away too early on. ...read more.

Middle

The mystery and suspense depends when Dr Mortimer describes visiting Sir Charles's body where he had died - no physical injury - but footprints . . . . . " of a gigantic hound." This leaves chapter 2 on a cliffhanger so it build up the suspense. The tension is sustained in chapter 3 'The Problem' in a number of ways. Firstly, in the previous chapter - the account of the curse and Dr Mortimer's description of what he saw when Sir Charles had died - Chapter 3 is linked to it by the reaction of Dr Watson: " A shudder passed through me." Also that Dr Mortimer in describing what had happened was 'deeply moved' indicated how the events had affected him. Secondly Sir Arthur uses extended sections of dialogue to develop interest and draw out information bit by bit so the reader is gradually informed about what Dr Mortimer observed through Sherlock Holmes cross examining him. Thirdly, the gradual unveiling of what might have killed Sir Charles adds tension and suspense. It might be a 'supernatural' being - something therefore that doesn't follow accepted patterns of behaviour and so it is difficult to solve the mystery. Dr Mortimer makes reference to the creature as a 'demon' It was "huge creature, luminous, ghastly and spectral" like an "apparition", a "hell-hound" and that there is a "reign of terror" in the district - even 'hard' men are too frightened to cross the moor. To increase the tension Sherlock Holmes describes how enormous his task could be " to take on the father of Evil himself would, perhaps, be too ambitious a task." ...read more.

Conclusion

It is effective as a detective story because there are several suspects at the same time - for example, Stapleton, the convict on the moor and the Barrymores. Also each chapter is generally ended with an intensity of the threat posed or the urgency in solving the mystery. This is perhaps partly due to the fact that the book was originally serialised in the Strand literary magazine. For instance at the end of Chapter 10 "There is that hut upon the moor which seems to lie at the ...... heart of the mystery" This however later turns out to be a fake line of inquiry. However the meeting of Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes in the hut on the moor at the end of chapter 11 shows a weakness in the plot. It seems a real let down to what could have been another possible line of enquiry - to introduce Sherlock Holmes this way seems implausible that he should rough it on the wilds of Dartmoor. Also two thirds of the way through the book the reader knows it's Stapleton who is the culprit - it's just a question of acquiring the evidence. Nevertheless, the tension is kept going by the need of him killing Sir Henry and he is nearly successful. The reader however, knows that it is unlikely that he is going to manage to kill Sir Henry. Overall however I think that Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle manages to create interest and suspense in the first three chapters and successfully keep it going throughout the rest of the book. ?? ?? ?? ?? Abbi Rooke 11e ...read more.

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