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Book Report and Reader Response: "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, critics three requirements fulfilled

By artsywink Apr 23, 2004 1019 Words
The Hound of the Baskervilles Essay

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a suspenseful mystery novel, staged in England during the Victorian Era. Robert Daley, a novelist who reviews books for the New York Times Book Review, states that a novel should entertain the reader, teach the reader, and emotionally involve the reader. In this novel, Doyle fulfills one of Daley's requirements by continuously entertaining the reader.

Similar to many other well¬-written novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles keeps a reader interested by constantly twisting the plot and involving new characters. The reintroduction of Sherlock Holmes in the middle of the story created a new edge; it rejuvenated the reader's want to read on in the story. As unexpected as Holmes's reintroduction was, even more unexpected was the discovery of Jack and Beryl Stapleton's previous marriage. This discovery created not a plot twist, but a twist in the characters and their feelings as well. At last in the book came the biggest plot twist of all, Jack Stapleton's motive to kill. Stapleton's discovered relation as a Baskerville was so unknown that the reader experiences a personal shock, as do the characters in the book. A good novel such as this is very entertaining however it must also portray and teach you about the era from which it was written.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, many informative and accurate pieces of information were described. One area in which references were made pertained to fashion during the Victorian Era. In the book, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mentioned the top hats that all wealthy, professional men wore. Another reference was made to the dress of wealthy and professional men when Holmes and Watson were examining the walking stick left behind by Dr. Mortimer towards the beginning of the story. Transportation was also mentioned in the novel many times. To arrive at the town of Devonshire, the nervous trio of Sir Henry, Watson, and Dr. Mortimer rode a train, which was referred to as a steam locomotive. Arriving at Devonshire, they then rode a classic horse and buggy to Baskerville Hall. However, the most popular form of transportation in the novel was a hansom cab. A hansom cab resembles a vehicle such as a carriage, but instead, the passengers sit low in front, and the driver stands behind them, directing the cab. Holmes and Watson continuously used this method of travel while in the busy streets of London. While The Hound of the Baskervilles provides each reader with a brilliant portrayal of the Victorian Era, it also gives a reader a sense of relationship to the characters, creating a feeling of involvement.

Throughout the duration of my life I have met numerous people. A few particularly memorable people possess the qualities of loyalty, kindness, nosiness, stubbornness, pride, and an adventurous spirit. Certain characters from The Hound of the Baskervilles also possess these particular traits. My closest and best friend possesses a great deal of the same character traits as Dr. Watson. They are extremely friendly, loyal, trustworthy, and amiable. In the novel, Dr. Watson shows his loyalty, particularly to Holmes, when Holmes chooses him to accompany Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer to Baskerville Hall. Holmes and others view Watson as someone worthy of their trust, and so they honor him with this most difficult task. This friend that I mentioned earlier also portrays herself as extremely loyal and trustworthy, along with kind and friendly. People all around her are quick to say hello and confide in her, knowing she will not tell anyone their secrets. Much like Sir Henry had in the story, I also have a neighbor who is quite of the nosy and stubborn sort. Another one of my friends, and one of my neighbors, resembles Mr. Frankland in many ways. As one can recall in the story, Mr. Frankland came off as a nosy, stubborn man who would spy on picnickers and then relentlessly sue them for trespass. While I can assure you that my friend does not sue picnickers, she does poke her nose in other people's conversations and then proceeds to push her opinions and views onto them. The character of Sir Henry closely relates to my third friend. Both are driven by their pride and their ambition, and both possess an adventurous spirit. Sir Henry shows his pride and courageous soul when he was asked if he would go to Baskerville Hall, despite rumors of the curse. He responded by saying that nothing could keep him away from the home of his ancestors. Similar to Sir Henry, my friend shows this type of courage on a daily basis, constantly pushing and stretching her own limits and fears. An event I can recall occurred about two months ago when this friend of mine stepped out onto an iced-over pond. True, it was not a very smart thing to do, but she kept going, stretching her fears further and further apart. Yes, one of her boots did fall through, but it was her courage that I remembered in the end. Not only did The Hound of the Baskervilles do a wonderful job of involving the reader, but it accurately and exquisitely fulfilled Daley's three requirements for a good novel.

By Daley's standards, The Hound of the Baskervilles can be openly considered as a wonderfully written novel, as it fulfills the three requirements of entertainment, education, and involvement. This novel entertains the reader by twisting the plot, chapter by chapter, and by introducing and reintroducing new and unexpected characters. It can also be considered excellent because it gives the reader of a vision of what the Victorian Era looked like, truly educating the reader on that time period. Most importantly, The Hound of the Baskervilles involves the reader to no extent, allowing the reader to make connections, and to apply the characters in the novel to their own personal life. Thus, after reading the novel and reviewing Daley's requirements, it can be said that The Hound of the Baskervilles is an excellent novel, and it will be cherished and read for centuries beyond its years.

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