Monday, October 27, 2014

Baskerville Read-Along: Baskerville Hall (Ch. 6.)

Sorry about the short hiatus!  Real life intervened, in the form of a birthday party for my son, who turned seven this month.  Back on track now!

We say good-bye to Holmes in this chapter, and head off to Baskerville Hall.  This whole chapter is really about atmosphere, isn't it?  We move from the bustling, modern city out through the idylic, pastoral countryside until we hit the moor.  And then everything gets increasingly bleak and foreboding and gloomy.  It's a masterful piece of using setting to create a tone, and I love it to bits.

We also learn there's a killer on the loose, a convict named Selden.  He doesn't seem to be connected with the death of old Sir Charles, but definitely ups the scare factor, huh?  Especially when Watson uses phrases like "wanton brutality" and "peculiar ferocity" to describe the murders he committed (p. 615).  And then says Selden's sanity is in doubt?  Great!  Now we have an insane killer wandering loose on the moor.  Glad Watson has his trusty service revolver in his pocket!

Random moment of cuteness:  Watson spent his train trip playing with Dr. Mortimer's spaniel!  How sweet!  I would love to have a spaniel some day.

Favorite Lines:

Rolling pasture lands curved upward on either side of us, and old gabled houses peeped out from amid the thick green foliage, but behind the peaceful and sunlit countryside there rose ever, dark against the evening sky, the long, gloomy curve of the moor, broken by the jagged and sinister hills (p. 614).

...two copses of trees moaned and swung in a rising wind (p. 618).

Possible Discussion Question:  

There's a bit of foreshadowing going on when we leave the station, with Holmes telling Sir Henry not to go places alone anymore because "[s]ome great misfortune will befall you if you do" (p. 613).  Do you like foreshadowing, or not?

6 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to be on a moor, and passages like this only accentuate that feeling! An insane killer, I forgot about that!! I like how Doyle make Watson seem more human by having him play with the spaniel!

    I'm okay with foreshadowing as long as 1) it's not too excessive, and 2) I think it's foreshadowing, not my literature book telling me. It's a good literary device that heightens suspense, especially in mystery stories!

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    1. I really want to visit the moor some day too. It sounds so otherworldly.

      I'm pretty much the same -- I don't mind a bit of foreshadowing, and this was definitely very subtle and not "here, let me juice up the suspense factor by telling you something bad is coming," which is the sort of lazy writing I abhor.

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  2. Oh, there's a readalong going on? ;-) I've been dying to get back to Holmes.

    I want a spaniel, too. Now that I don't have my Pom, a spaniel would probably be good company. They're adorable, and just the right size for snuggling.

    Oh, Sherlock Holmes, right. I like foreshadowing, because it gives me a reason to look for clues, and it perks up my attention. Like the Avengers 2 trailer. I'm only obsessed with it because I went all Sherlock-y on it, looking for clues that Marvel always puts in their trailers. I love digging for clues. :-)

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    1. Hee hee. There's sort of a read-along going on, except that Halloween ate my entire life, specifically finishing Halloween costumes, and I'm still recovering.

      Clues are fun!

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  3. I love how excited Sir Henry gets about seeing Dartmoor and Baskerville Hall in this chapter. It's really quite adorable :) But, yes, this is a very gloomy and bleak little chapter. I love the brilliant descriptions from Doyle and that great reveal about the insane murderer on the loose. So creepy... I love it! :D

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    1. Sir Henry is endlessly, well, adorable! Just such a cheery, enthusiastic, kind-hearted fellow.

      And the descriptions in this chapter awe me every time. A masterpiece.

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