Fear In The Hound Of The Baskervilles
& The Whole Town’s Sleeping Essay, Research Paper
Fear is present in many different types of literature from the shortest tale tothe longest of novels. Sir Authur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of theBaskervillies” and Ray Bradbury’s “The Whole Towns Sleeping” are two verydifferent texts which create fear in different ways but also in very similarways. I am going to explain what these methods are and how they compare. Many things create fear, loneliness, isolation, the supernatural, darkness. all of these things are fears of one things, the unknown. The absence ofknowledge or the denial of what may happen. It is not possible not to fear. No one has done everything and knows everything and more importantly canpredict everything because many things are out of their control and cannot bepredicted. So everyone fears the only difference between people is who worry’sabout their fears and those who ignore them. “The Hound of The Baskervillies” begins in the Comfort and safety of Holmes’Baker Street flat. But soon travels to the dangerous and unknown Dartmoor andthe great Grimpon Mire. The More and Mire are mysterious places when murderswere known to have taken place. But Baskerville hall is safe away from thedanger of the moor. From the Beginning of the Novel when we discover of theMystery and History of the House of the Baskervillies The moor is depicted asthe place where the attack is likely to take place and it does indeed takeplace on he moor. After the Attack Holmes and Watson return to their Londonapartment where we find out how Holmes solved the mystery of The Hound of TheBaskervillies. Holmes’ revelations are interesting because the novel is toldfrom the point of view of Watson Holmes’ assistant. Because of this the readergets a layman’s view on the story. If Holmes told the story then there wouldbe little left unsure in our minds, therefore there would be no fear. Tellingthe novel from wattson’s point of view also gives the sense of HolmesBrilliance Form Holmes’ point of view we would not feel the full impact of theGenius of Holmes. The Whole Towns Sleeping’s structure is unusual in the way in which it endsabruptly leaving the story open to be finished, leaving the reader wantingmore. Building up tension throughout the story and quickly dispelling it butat the end the tension is never explained away making the ending of the storyhang in your mind and making you realise how involved with the story you are.The story also has an unusual twist in that the event that the whole storybuilds up to happens just when you think it will not. Lavinia who you areexpecting to get attacked by ‘the lonely one’ outside in the ravine or as sheis running to her house infact happens after she reaches the apparent safety ofher house. We start the story at her house she is safe and the moo created isof a calm relaxed safe mood. It is only as she leaves the house that we learnof ‘The Lonely One’ and the dangers that lie in the ravine and out in the openstreets. After the rises and falls in tension including the discovery of thelatest victim of the lonely one The structures of the two texts are very different whereas one leaves thereader with full knowledge of what has happened therefore eliminating the fear”The Whole Towns Sleeping” leaves almost all mystery’s unsolved and so fear ispresent until the end of the story right until the last word. The viewpoint ofthe two storeys is also very important to the creation of fear. With the viewof Watson we believe that we know everything but infact the reader knows verylittle but with the third persons view in “The Whole Towns Sleeping” readersshould get the feeling of knowledge but the story is told from only whatLavinia sees If she see something the reader does not see it either. Butoften she will see things before the reader creating tension very quickly andalso dispelling it equally as quickly. A good example of this is when Laviniaand Francine come across some children pretending to be ‘The lonely one’ theyare whispering from the bushes “I am the lonely One. I am the Lonely One Ikill people.” We are initially lead to believe that this voice is indeed thelonely one, we have no method of differentiating between voices in literatureunless we are told who is speaking Bradbury uses this to fool the reader intosuspecting the unknown voice is a killer. But the sudden outburst by Francineof “You there! Children, you nasty children!” tells us that the voice is thevoice of a child playing dispelling tension just as fast as it was created. “The Whole Town’s Sleeping” uses the main setting of the ravine that cuts apath through the middle of the town which itself is situated in the middle ofIllinois to create a fearsome place. The ravine is depicted as a harshisolated place in the middle of an isolated town. The ravine is used towardsthe end of the story as Lavinia is on her final walk home. She passes throughthe ravine after her night with her friends after telling her friend Francinethat she is not scared of “The Lonely One” but as she passes down “the steepbrambled bank” down towards the bottom of the ravine down the one hundred andthirteen steps the number itself is very important as it depicts the number 13which is unlucky and the number one hundred giving the sense of huge distance. She whispers to herself the number of steps she has travelled down thusheightening the distance she must travel. As the leaves “The locked doors, thetown, the drugstore, the theatre and the lights” she becomes more and moreisolated. She continues down the ravine she listens out for a stranger butfinds silence. Her footsteps start to produce echoes showing how desolate andempty the ravine is. How cold the valley is and how cold “The Lonely One” is. Just as earlier Francine had “never been so cold since winter” when they foundEliza Ramsell’s body in the ravine. Even if the ravine is not infact the placewhere “The Lonely One” will strike it is the most likely place in the story andis purposely created to give this false sense of certainty. Even the name “The Great Grimpen mire” suggests fear and the addition of fogmakes it one of the most fearful places that Doyle could have created for thesearch for “The Hound of the Baskervillies” Fog is used because it blocks thehuman senses therefore the detectives can not sense when the attack will takeplace. The fog is depicted as “drifting slowly” across the moor and beingsolid “like a wall” another description used throughout this section is thenotion that the fog is “floating like a strange ship on a sinister sea” or thatit is “like a great shimmering icefield” To Holmes the fog is “the one thingswhich could have disarranged my plans” we trust Holmes’ judgement on thisbecause his is the greatest detective of all time! The moor also contains manyother elements that contribute to the fear of it. The monolithic ruins areused as a hiding place for both the dog, Holmes, and the convict. They areboth cold and desolate places and are the last remaining clues that many yearsago people once lived on this moor. The fact that a convict is loose on themoor also creates a worry that there may be more then one killer on the loose. And the suggestion that the Mire could infact kill if you did not know how topass through it also created yet another fear. Both settings are extremely similar. They both contain isolation, both containa killer and both deceive our senses just as Holmes cannot see due to the fogLavinia cannot see due to the lack of light from the towns street lights. Both places are known but contain many different variables that could be thekiller the positions of our main characters in the two texts are very differentbut the actual story that takes place on these two setting are very similar. Infact both texts are extremely similar both have unknown murderers, both havea dangerous places where characters pass through. Both killers are serialkillers. Both storeys rely on the readers missing knowledge to create fear. There are some major differences between their structures. But they aredifferent styles of writing. One is a full length novel and one is a Shortstory. They are written to achieve different things. I feel that in “TheWhole Towns Sleeping” the actual written story is less important then what youdecide to interpret the rest of the story as. Whereas “The Hound Of theBaskervilles” is a full novel and is designed to take you comprehensivelythrough the story from start to finish giving you as much detail on what ishappening as possible. In that way they are very different pieces ofliterature.