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What use does each Writer make of setting in 'Hound of the Baskervilles' and 'The Signalman'?

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Introduction

What use does each Writer make of setting in 'Hound of the Baskervilles' and 'The Signalman'? 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1902 carrying the genre of a horror story, whilst 'The Signalman' was written by Charles Dickens in 1860, carrying the genre of a ghost story. Both writers use the same type of setting throughout the novels which is dismal, shadowy and perspirating. At the time when both novels were written, the readers who read both of the novels believed that ghosts and huge hounds which prowled moonless, glum heaths actually existed. This had a greater effect on the reader in the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century than it does today because not many people living in the modern world believe in phantoms and huge beasts which roam around dingy places and secluded heaths. In the first chapter of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' setting does not seem to be terribly important to Conan Doyle because he focuses more on describing the plot of the novel to the reader. In chapter one Conan Doyle is describing to the reader, the plot which starts with the gruesome death of Sir Charles Baskerville along with a little background knowledge about Sherlock Holmes. ...read more.

Middle

Conan Doyle's creation of Sherlock Holmes is very important to the detective-horror story genre because he satisfies most readers in terms of the personality of Sherlock Holmes by the way that he is a brilliant detective but also has a dark side whereby he takes injections of heroin at regular intervals during the novel; much to Dr. Watson's displeasure. Every novel consists of characters, plot and setting but in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', setting does not appear to be very important to Conan Doyle at certain points in the novel. This is because Conan Doyle concentrates on getting the plot across to the reader like in chapters one and two. Conan Doyle uses Dartmoor to his advantage when creating setting and atmosphere in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by describing Dartmoor to the reader as if it was a supernatural world of mystery "like some fantastic landscape in a dream" When Sir Henry Baskerville is walking upon the moor; "Soldierly men with rifles glanced at them" suggests to the reader that there is potential violence to occur later on in the story. Conan Doyle uses this quote to describe setting in this way because he is trying to add mystery to the novel which keeps the reader in suspense to stop them from feeling uninvolved in what is happening in the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

This happened at several points during 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' and is called pathetic fallacy. Overall I have concluded that both writers use the same devices to create the same type of atmosphere through setting in both novels; 'The signalman' and 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. As well as this, both writers use the different settings to explain various parts of the plot throughout 'The signalman' and 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. I think that the setting is most important in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' because the whole setting of Dartmoor gives it, it's menacing atmosphere which makes it the ideal place for a horror story to occur. In 'The Signalman' I don't think that using setting to create atmosphere was terribly important to Dickens because the traveller is there to tell the main body of the plot to the reader. I believe that when both books were published in Victorian times, the Victorian readers who read 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' and 'The Signalman' were greatly impacted by the ghost and horror stories into actually believing that the ghost in 'The Signalman' and the huge beast in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' actually existed compared to today where most modern-day people don't believe in these things, which means that the impact of each story is much less on the reader. ...read more.

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