Tension and Atmosphere in "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

1951 Words Sep 28th, 2011 8 Pages
Tension and Atmosphere in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in 1859. His mother Mary Doyle regularly read to him which is where he began his own love of books. Some years after graduating from college in 1876 he began writing. His first Sherlock Holmes book was “A Study in Scarlet”, written in 1887. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was written in 1902.
The plot of this story focuses on a hound, supposedly trying to kill off the Baskerville family. Holmes himself is a very clever and interesting character. He manages to identify the tiny details that most people would not be able to spot. Although in the rest of the series Sherlock Holmes is the main character, Dr. Watson, Holmes’s
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This creates huge tension as the readers can feel the emotions and fear of the characters living in Baskerville Hall.
In addition to tension, Conan Doyle also uses atmosphere to draw the reader further into the story. For example, when Watson and Holmes arrive at Baskerville hall’s “avenue”, the author describes what it looks like. He describes the approach to the house as a “sombre tunnel”, through which Baskerville Hall “glimmered like a ghost” in the distance. The words “sombre tunnel” create a feeling of darkness and claustrophobia. Unlike most stately homes, Baskerville Hall makes us feel unsafe; as if there is danger lurking around every corner. Conan Doyle introduces supernatural images, such as when he tells us the hall “glimmered like a ghost”. This creates atmosphere but is also an example of foreshadowing, as this is exactly the effect that phosphorous gives the hound later in the book. When they arrive at the house, it is covered in a “dark veil” of ivy. Mortimer describes it as “enough to scare any man”. He also describes what the air is like. He says that it is “cold” and “murky” with a “sense of suspicion”. All of this dark, dangerous imagery adds to the tension and atmosphere.
Further atmosphere is created when Watson and Holmes sleep at Baskerville hall for the night. Dr. Watson goes for a walk around the house and thinks he can hear “strange noises” and a woman’s voice crying. This adds to the daunting atmosphere because it creates
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