This essay will analyse The Hound of the Baskervilles to see if it is a horror or whodunit. The novel was first published in nineteen hundred and two and went on to become a big hit with the Victorian public. It is a story set in a bygone time when superstition was rife and people believed deeply in the power of curse. Inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle to write this book came out of the blue and from an unexpected source. It was after Fletcher Robinson, a friend of Doyle’s told him about the curse of the hound from hell that they began to research for the book.
Doyle and Robinson visited the bleakest locations where the eeriest of feelings would unravel. The powerful text used in describing the setting gave the more credible surroundings for the supernatural happenings to occur, using four main places which all portray a feeling of unnerve; The grimpen mire with its “rising howls”. “A step yonder means death to man or beast”. The moors described as being, “So vast, and so barren, and so mysterious”. Merripit house was to be known as the, “Bleak moor land house”. And Baskerville hall was repeatedly described as “Dim and sombre”. The Script that Doyle used almost certainly depicts settings of mystery.
“The coming of the hound”. Was believed to have plagued the Baskerville family for years and needed to be investigated. Doyle wanted his book to appeal to his readers and now with the possibility of a supernatural phenomenon he had a theory to solve. With his success of increasing the ratings of Doyle’s previous books there could be only one person for the job. With his logic thinking and experience in criminology who better to star as a main character than a detective who could return from the dead; Mr Sherlock Holmes, and there in his famed Barker Street office the narrative begins.
Doyle with the assistance of Fletcher succeeded in making this book as gripping as possible and is written in a way that would appeal to a varied range of readers in any day and age. Because of Doyle’s fascination with the supernatural I think he wanted this book to be classified as a horror story and in many ways he succeeds, with its detailed graphic imagery of “The beast” And its “Blazing eyes and dripping jaws” Instantly introducing a chill factor.
Doyle also uses animal imagery which is normally done to make someone sound more scary than they are like when he describes Stapleton as a, “big lean jawed pike” and a “Wiry bulldog” it automatically transforms him into a more frightening being. Horror was intended to be injected into the story by Doyle as he used nouns in a way to suggest the “Great black beast” to be daunting and the alliteration increases to the terror.
The verbs used to describe actions introduced a certain amount of fear to me, like the way the thing “Tore the throat out of Hugo Baskerville”. Doyle wrote of scenes that any horror fanatic would appreciate but I think it would be unfair to categorize this novel as a horror story because although Doyle’s script is packed with scenes of horror, it is not constant unlike the depiction of mystery which runs throughout the whole novel, also as Arthur Conan Doyle decided to introduce a detective into the mix it would obviously become a detective novel.