Arthur Conan Doyle - The Hound of The Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles - GCSE Coursework Essay
In this essay I aim to look at how the settings in Arthur Conan
Doyle's novel The Hound of The Baskervilles affect the atmosphere of
the book. I will discuss a number of areas of the novel among these
how the main settings of the novel compare and contrast with each
other, The history, description and pre-knowledge of the main
settings, The characters reactions to their surroundings and whether
this give us any clues to the mystery and the minor settings that
contribute to the atmosphere.
Holmes' London flat is like the essence of a Victorian gentleman's
club, warm, with a fire and a comfortable reading chair on the hearth
rug it seems to be a very well appointed flat. We are not given any
details of the apartment directly in the novel but we catch glimpses
of it in the descriptions of Holmes or Watson's actions.
"Through the haze I had a vague vision of Holmes in his dressing gown
coiled up in his armchair". This kind of speech evokes images of large
leather covered chairs and roaring fires. In general a warm and
comfortable flat conducive to intelligent thought.
In contrast to this when Watson visits Baskerville Hall the style of
architecture and decoration described is very old and baronial. The
hall is obviously the place for a sportsman and not a refined person
like Holmes "we gazed around at the high, thin window of old stained
glass, the oak panelling, the stags heads, the coats-of-arms upon the
wall", describes Watson when walking into the hall. It is welcoming
and beautiful in its own way but is nothing like the home of reason
and intellectualism that the Baker Street flat is.
The moor complements Baskerville Hall perfectly, the hall representing
safety and warmth and the moor danger and cold, the two locations are
very much interlinked and I could not imagine Baskerville Hall on any
other place than the lonely, windswept moor. Speaking of a particular
spot on the moor Seldon says, "even in dry seasons it is a danger to
cross it, but after these autumn rains it is an awful place". We then
see a pony walk into the mire and drown, emphasizing how dangerous it
is. To allude to the danger of Seldon's company his house is far out
on the dangerous, desolate moor at the end of a long dirt track in the
middle of nowhere.
To a certain extent our views are coloured by a popular conception of
Holmes' apartments as the refuge of the notorious detective and it is
hard to try and read the book without preconception, However the
conventional view of Holmes' flat is remarkably accurate to the little
description provided in the book and so the feelings and language used
to describe it is only heightened by this prior knowledge.
Baskerville Hall is a very feudal kind of name it conjures up an image
of a giant rambling place in the middle of the country full of people
in pink coats hunting...