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Conan Doyles The Hound of the Baskervilles - Book Report/Review Example

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Although Arthur Conan Doyle was a believer in the psychic and the supernatural himself, his famous creation, the detective Sherlock Holmes is a staunch rationalist. "The Hound of the Baskervilles", one of the greatest stories of detection through scientific reasoning, is like a gothic novel with modern overtones…
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Conan Doyles The Hound of the Baskervilles
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Download file to see previous pages Although many people seem to believe in the legend, including Dr.Mortimer, the dead man's personal physician and a man of science, Holmes does not credit it with truth, and his skepticism is finally vindicated when he solves the mystery.
Doyle was inspired by the story he had heard about the 16th century squire Richard Cabell According to Doyle's biography, the inspiration for "The Hound of the Baskervilles" came from "a prolonged stay in the Devonshire moors, which included a visit to Dartmoor, the famous prison. At first, it was based mainly on local folklore about an inhospitable manor, an escaped convict and a huge black sepulchral hound". Doyle used the folklore in the story of the "Hound of the Baskervilles" with great success He used the story to showcase the remarkable powers of observation of the great detective, and to show the superiority of logical reasoning over blind superstition. .It is Sherlock Holmes himself who is the 'hero' of the story.
Holmes is a clear and incisive thinker, who abhors superstition. The family of Baskervilles has a legend attached to it, the legend of an evil ancestor, Sir Hugo Baskerville. According to the legend, an enormous hell hound which killed him and which still haunts the head of the family who lives in the estate and kills him. When Dr. Mortimer reads out the legend to Holmes and asks him whether he did not find it interesting, Holmes replies, "To a collector of fairy tales",(Doyle 18) showing his contempt for such cock-and-bull stories. But the effects of the legend on other men of science like Dr. Watson and Dr. Mortimer is quite the opposite. When Mortimer recounts that he saw footprints at the scene of the crime, Holmes asks him, "'A man's or a woman's' Dr.Mortimer looked at us strangely for an instant, and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered, 'Mr.Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!'" (Doyle 24) As for Watson, he writes, "I confess that at these words a shudder passed through me."(p.25)
Arthur Conan Doyle made his Sherlock Holmes a man with incisive thinking powers who would hardly believe in the supernatural, while Doyle's own convictions about things supernatural were quite the reverse. His own conviction is revealed in the words of Dr. Mortimer in this conversation between Dr.Mortimer and the detective. Mortimer says,"'There is a realm in which the most acute and most experienced of detectives is helpless.' 'You mean that the thing is supernatural'" (P. 26) Although Conan Doyle believed in the supernatural and the psychic, as a man of science, he also had complete faith in the scientific principles. The vigor with which Sherlock Holmes pursues his science based theories reflect the convictions of his creator. Sending Watson to Dartmoor with Baskerville, Holmes himself goes there secretly to watch Stapleton whom he suspects. He stays in a hut on the moor for sometime. In Watson's words, "He was thin and worn, but clear and alert, his keen face bronzed by the sun and roughened by the wind." (p. 128) Holmes' keen brain had already recognized the murderer and anticipated his plans.
Several people had seen a "creature upon the moor which corresponds to this Baskerville demon, and which could not possibly be any animal known to science", is the argument of Dr. Mortimer, who had interviewed several eye witnesses of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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