The Hound Of The Baskervilles Essay, Research Paper
“Perhaps when a man has special knowledge and special powers like my own, it rather encourages him to seek a complex explanation when a simpler one is at hand.” This quote by Sherlock Holmes, the most famous fictional character of A.C. Doyle, describes not only Sherlock Holmes but also his creator. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an interesting man and his writing were influenced by many things. Specifically, the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, was influenced by Doyle?s family and his life experiences. Doyle?s aristocratic background and upbringing influences his writing by agreeing very much with England?s nobleman and commoner status quo. The family of A.C. Doyle greatly influenced his novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. By having noble and even royal blood flowing through his veins, Doyle was better able to write about the noble Baskerville family. The aristocrats in the story were also portrayed as the ?good? chracters which shows the reader Doyle?s opinion of the noblemen. Doyle knew about nobility and he was able to pass this personal quality onto his characters. The Baskerville family was a very respected one, especially after Sir Charles took control over Baskerville Hall. “Though Sir Charles resided at Baskerville Hall for a comparatively short period, his amiability of character and extreme generosity had won the affection and respect of all who had been brought into contact with him.” (Doyle 19) The noble Baskerville family is very likely a reflection of what Doyle thought, or knew, about his own family. Another thing that is evident in the book is Arthur Conan Doyle’s chivalrous side. The characters of Sir Henry Baskerville and Sir Charles Baskerville continually show that they are honorable men. By providing for his neighbors and friends, Sir Charles showed that he was willing to put others first and that he genuinely cared for others. The help given to Ms. Laura Lyons also shows Charles’s chivalrous side. He helped her financially after she was forced to leave her home by her father and she requested help from Charles a second time, knowing his generosity. Sir Henry continued on in the same tradition and started to refurbish the Baskerville Manor and give help to the people who needed it most. Sir Henry was also able to show his chivalrous side in another way. It was in his pursuit of Miss Stapleton that he showed his romantic side. The chivalrous and romantic Baskervilles were a mirror image of Doyle. He was raised by his mother to be chivalrous and he truly listened to what his mother said. By passing these characteristics onto his fictional characters, Doyle was able to write about something he believed in. Arthur Conan Doyle’s life experiences also influenced his novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles. As a child enrolled in boarding school, Doyle excelled in many things. Particularly, Doyle was very athletic and he did very well at many sports. The character of Sherlock Holmes demonstrates the same athletic ability as Doyle did in his boyhood years. Watson says about Holmes, “Never have I seen a man run as Holmes ran that night.” (Doyle 158) More importantly though, Doyle’s time in medical school at the University of Edinburgh and the time he spent as a doctor greatly influence this novel. The character of Dr. Mortimer shows a great deal of knowledge about medicine. He was the one who took care of Sire Charles until the last minute and diagnosed his problems. Also, Dr. Mortimer was a specialist in skulls. Throughout the novel, Mortimer shows off his knowledge at various times. The deduction skills given to Sherlock Homes and Dr. Watson are also derived from the medical knowledge of Arthur Doyle. Holmes and Watson can figure out just about anything from a few clues. They are able to reach conclusions from examining objects and speaking with people. By examining the walking stick of Dr. Mortimer, Holmes was able to figure out where he worked, what kind of dog he owned, and why he left his job. Watson was even able to figure out that Barrymore was holding the candlelight at the window each night as a signal. The baronet and Watson found out the truth about the Barrymore’s family secret from this observation. One of the most important things that Holmes figured out in this novel was the Miss Stapleton was not the sister of Stapleton. Holmes figured this out from a simple comment Stapleton made about his past. Holmes figures out that Stapleton, at one time, was a schoolmaster. It turned out that Stapleton and his wife, Miss Stapleton, decided to flee the town after some bad circumstances occurred in which Mr. Stapleton was a part of. The couple ended up in Devonshire and acted there as sister and brother. This simple piece of information led Holmes to the conclusion of the mystery at the Baskerville Manor. Doyle’s characters, especially Holmes, really reflect his knowledge of science and medicine. Doyle was able to pass on his science of deduction skills to Holmes and Watson and they came in very handy throughout the book even shaping the plot.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s personality had two main sectors, which were showed in his writings. These sectors were the hardheaded man of science, and the romantic adventurer. These two personality traits not only shape the characters in the books but they also shape the plot of the books themselves. The novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is a good example of how these two characteristics of Doyle influence his writings.
“Arthur Conan Doyle.” Http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~lmoskowi/Holmes_Quotes/quotes.html., 10/30/98
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1963.
Benstock, Bernard. “Arthur Conan Doyle”. British Writers. Ed. George Stade. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992 2:159-176