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Penguin Readers Factsheets

T e a c h e rs n o t e s

level
E 1 2 3 4 5

The Hound of the Baskervilles


by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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UPPER INTERMEDIATE
more apparent than when he gave a lecture on spiritualism in Amsterdam shortly before his death in 1930. Ignoring the lectures title, many of the questions from the audience were about Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle refused to answer them and told the audience he had nothing more to say about the detective or his cases.

S U M M A R Y
he Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Conan Doyles most famous mysteries featuring the detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his friend, Dr Watson.

The eerie mists of Dartmoor form the setting to the sinister events at Baskerville Hall. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead, the people living in the neighbouring area are sure that he didnt die from natural causes. Strange sightings of a giant fire-breathing hound and stories from the past have convinced them of this. The new heir to the property, Sir Henry Baskerville, arrives from Canada determined not to let the stories frighten him away from his new home. He braves the loneliness of the moors, takes pleasure in getting to know his neighbours, and is careful to follow the advice and guidance of the great detective, Holmes. Holmes and Watson slowly unravel a tangle of mystery as the case takes them deep into the heart of the Baskerville family.

BACKGROUND AND THEMES


Few fictional characters are as well known around the world as the amateur private detective Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes was born in 1887 when Conan Doyles first full-length detective story, A Study in Scarlet, was published. At the time of Sherlock Holmes creation, Victorian society was in a state of unease as new thoughts and ideas threatened to undermine traditional beliefs. The Industrial Revolution had brought about the rapid development of industry, railways, commerce and engineering. Along with this came revolutionary scientific theories which shocked many people. Darwins Origin of Species, published in 1859, put forward the theory of evolution, and so questioned the Christian beliefs that had been dominant until then. There also occurred the rise of a new class of rich factory owners, who capitalized on the poor, particularly women and children. The Victorian conscience was eventually stirred by the revelation of this exploitation in the works of authors such as Dickens and Charles Kingsley. Tales of mystery, where social problems were rarely confronted, grew in popularity during the Victorian age. The success of Wilkie Collins Woman in White, published in 1860, lead the way for further novels of mystery, crime, detection and suspense. When Sherlock Holmes solved his first mystery in Strand Magazine in 1887, he was an immediate success with readers. People often wrote to the editor of Strand asking if Holmes was a real person. Dr Watson, who relates all the Sherlock Holmes stories, acts as a foil to Holmes. The sparkling brilliance of Holmess sharp mind shines as he explains to Dr Watson, and thus to the reader, how he has solved each mystery. The solutions to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries are reached through reason and, perhaps because of Conan Doyles interest in the supernatural, there is often an air of the unexplained and macabre about them.

A BO UT SIR AR THU R CO NA N DO YLE


Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22nd 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied at Edinburgh University and became a doctor. Interestingly, he had a strong resemblance to his fictional character - Dr Watson - both in nature and looks. He was solid, extrovert and patriotic, with strong views on things such as the importance of the British Empire and the stupidity of modern art. However, his Irish ancestors gave him a wilder, Celtic streak that ran through his life and writings. Conan Doyle, like Holmes, had very acute powers of observation. He had a very practical mind but also a great imagination. He developed an interest in spiritualism while he was a doctor in Southsea; an interest that comforted him when his youngest son, Kingsley, died of pneumonia in the First World War. Conan Doyle joined the Society for Psychical Research and for nearly 30 years carried out a series of experiments in telepathy and spiritual investigations. Finally, at the peak of his literary career, he wrote two books on spiritualism The New Revelation and The Vital Message. Conan Doyle rather resented the success of his Sherlock Holmes books, feeling that they overshadowed his more important historical and scientific books. This was never

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T e a c h e rs n o t e s
Written in 1902, The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the best-known tales of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was inspired to write the story after hearing a West Country legend, and the resulting novel is rather more gothic than other Holmes stories. As in all Sherlock Holmes stories, the solution to the mystery is found through Holmes observation of tiny details. As Holmes says to Watson, The world is full of clear things which nobody notices. Because his mind is uncluttered and free of trivia, Holmes notices these small things. Characteristics, good and bad, run through generations of families. Doyle develops this theme in the The Hound of the Baskervilles. We see traits in the modern Baskerville family that are reminiscent of the family members a century earlier. Doyle thus shows good and evil in permanent opposition to each other throughout the ages. Evil is shown to be stronger in the hours of darkness. Dark is a word that is constantly used to describe Baskerville Hall and Dartmoor. The feeling of menace created through the descriptions of the hall and the moors contrasts sharply with the warm cosiness of Baker Street. Conan Doyle builds the tension in the novel through mysterious happenings, unexplained noises, menacing weather, and eccentric characters who clearly have something to hide.
have travelled much, what their childhood was like etc. Have a whole-class feedback session.

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Chapters 912
Put students into pairs. Give each pair a paragraph in the book to rewrite from the 1st person into the 3rd person. Ask them to discuss what effect this has on the writing, and come to some conclusions about why Conan Doyle wrote the story in the 1st person, through the eyes of Dr Watson. Write the main points on the board, and have a class discussion.

Chapters 1315
Write on the board what Holmes says: The stranger and more meaningless an event seems, the more closely it should be considered. Discuss the meaning of this statement. Divide the students into small groups and give each group a different situation. For example, someone has committed a murder, someone is having an affair, etc. Each group writes down some strange and meaningless things that might happen in these situations, which might show that the person is guilty.

ACTIVITIES AFTER READING THE BOOK


Discuss with students what they carry around in their pockets or handbags. Show them what you have in your bag/pocket, and ask them what this says about you as a person. Divide the class up into small groups and give each group a character from the book. They discuss what this character would carry around with them, and why. Have a whole-class feedback session.

Communicative activities
The following teacher-led activities cover the same sections of text as the exercises at the back of the reader, and supplement those exercises. Further supplementar y exercises covering shorter sections of the book can be found on the photocopiable Students Activities pages of this Factsheet. These are primarily for use with class readers but, with the exception of discussion and pair/group work questions, can also be used by students working alone in a self-access centre.

Glossary
It will be useful for your students to know the following new words. They are practised in the Before You Readsections of exercises at the back of the book. (Definitions are based on those in the Longman Active Study Dictionary.) Chapters 14 article (n) a piece of writing in a newspaper or magazine avenue (n) a road or a path black sheep (n) someone who is thought to be bad by the rest of their family or group cab (n) taxi cigar (n) rolled tobacco which people smoke confess (v) to tell the truth about a bad thing you have done dressing gown (n) a long loose coat that you wear before getting dressed fate (n) a power that is believed to control peoples lives gigantic (adj) very big hounds (n) dogs used for hunting moor (n) an area of high ground covered with rough grass naturalist (n) someone who studies plants and animals yew (n) a type of tree with dark green leaves Chapters 58 carriage (n) a vehicle with wheels that is pulled by a horse mire (n) an area of soft, sinking wet ground roar (n) a very deep loud noise Chapters 912 divorce (n) when a marriage is legally ended reputation (n) the opinion people have of someone or something straw (n) dried sticks of wheat put down for animals to sleep on Chapters 1315 phosphorous (n) a chemical

ACTIVITIES BEFORE READING THE BOOK


Divide the class into groups. Ask groups what the front cover of the reader is trying to say about the book and how well it does this. Make sure they think about the style of the letters as well as the picture. What does the cover tell them about the plot or the themes? Write the main points on the board.

ACTIVITIES AFTER READING A SECTION Chapters 14


Put students into pairs. Ask them to go through the book and make a list of all the clues we have learnt so far which might lead to the mystery being solved. Then have a class discussion and write all the clues on the board. Do students have any ideas so far on the solution? Ask them to tell the class.

Chapters 58
Put students into small groups. Give each group a different character from the book. The groups write down what they know about that character and then what sort of life they think that character has had whether they

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Pub lis hed an d dis tribut ed by Pe arson Educ atio n Factsheet written by Mary Tomalin Fact sh eet ser ies dev elo ped by Louis e James

Penguin Readers Factsheets


Students activities

level
E 1 2 3 4 5

The Hound of the Baskervilles


Photocopiable
These activities can be done alone or with one or more other students. Pair/group-only activities are marked.

Activities before reading the book


Read the Introduction in the book. Then close your book and answer these questions. Check your answers in the book. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) What nationality was Conan Doyle? What was his first job? How old was he when he became a full time author? Why did he go to South Africa? Where were Conan Doyles short stories about Sherlock Holmes first published? (f) What other types of book did Conan Doyle write? (g) How did the death of his son affect him? (h) When did Conan Doyle die? How old was he? 2 Work with another student. Write down all the things in these chapters that seem to be unusual or unnatural. Can you think of a way to explain any of these events? 3 Answer these questions (a) What does Holmes like to do when he is thinking hard? (b) What hobby does Holmes have?

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UPPER INTERMEDIATE

CHAPTERS 58 Chapters 5 & 6


1 (a) Who says the sentences below, and who do they say them to? What are they talking about? (b) Change the sentences from direct speech into reported speech in the past tense. Example: I can laugh at a joke like anybody else, but they have gone a bit too far this time. Sir Henry Baskerville speaking to Holmes about his missing boots. Sir Henry told Holmes that he could laugh at a joke like anybody else, but this time someone had gone too far. (i) He is quite old, and is a man of good life and simple tastes. (ii) Did you know that you were followed this morning? (iii) I tell you, this time we have an enemy worth fighting. 2 Work with a partner. You are Watson and Holmes. Watson describes to Holmes how he felt when he first saw Baskerville Hall and the surrounding moors. Holmes asks him questions to make him explain the details. 3 Have you learnt anything in these chapters which may help solve the mystery? If so, make a note of it.

Activities while reading the book


CHAPTERS 14 Chapters 1 & 2
1 On the first page of the book, Holmes says to Watson, Now is the moment of fate, Watson, when you hear on the stairs a step which is walking into your life, whether for good or for evil. How does this sentence sets the mood (atmosphere) of the book? Now talk to another student. Do you agree with each other? 2 Finish these sentences. Try not to look at the book. (a) Dr James Mortimer is a ....................................... . (b) He comes to see Holmes because ..................................... . (c) Sir Hugo Baskerville owned Baskerville Hall in 1650. He was a .......................................... . (d) One night he followed ......................................... . (e) He and the girl were found dead. There was a terrible thing ......................................... (f) Over 200 years later, Sir Charles Baskerville is found ................................... .

Chapters 7 & 8
Fill in the gaps in the sentences with the words below. moor, walk, meets, surprises, crying, breakfast, mire, death, footsteps, chases, plan, foothold, Sir Henry, back to London After (a) ............................. Watson meets Mrs Bar rymore. He realizes that she was the person he heard (b) ............................. in the night. He takes a (c) .................... along the edge of the (d) .......................... and (e) .............................. Stapleton. Stapleton (f) ............................. Watson by asking him if Holmes has come to a decision about the (g) ............................. of Sir Charles. Stapleton (h) ............................. a small fly

Chapters 3 & 4
1 Which people in B have the feelings in A? Find sentences in these chapters that show this. A: (a) excited (b) deeply moved (c) impatient (d) satisfied (e) angry B: (i) Doctor Mortimer (ii) Sherlock Holmes (iii) Sir Henry Baskerville

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Penguin Readers Factsheets


Students activities
across the (i) .............................. without losing his (j) ............................. . Miss Stapleton thinks that Watson is (k) ............................., and tells him to go (l) ............................. . In the night Watson hears (m) ............................. passing his room. He and Sir Henry make a (n) ............................. . (e) Who dies on the rocks of the moor? Why do Holmes and Watson mistake him for someone else? (f) What makes Stapleton such a dangerous enemy?

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CHAPTERS 1315 Chapters 13 & 14


1 Put these events in the right order. (a) Holmes sends a report to Princetown about the death of Seldon. (b) Laura Lyons tells Holmes that Stapleton stopped her from keeping her appointment with Sir Charles. (c) Holmes, Watson and Lestrade position themselves around Merripit House. (d) Mrs Stapleton is found tied to a post. (e) A gigantic, fire-breathing hound chases Sir Henry across the moor. (f) Holmes discovers that Stapleton is a Baskerville. (g) The mist begins to sur round Merripit House. (h) Holmes and Watson look for Stapleton on Grimpen Mire, but cannot find him. (i) (j) Holmes kills the hound. Holmes tells Laura Lyons that Stapleton is married.

CHAPTERS 912 Chapters 9 & 10


1 Answer these questions. (a) Why does Watson follow Sir Henry out on to the moor when Sir Henry goes out hoping to meet Miss Barrymore? (b) What does he witness? (c) What excuse does Stapleton give for his behaviour? 2 Are these sentences true or false? (a) The escaped prisoner is Mrs Barrymores elder brother. (b) Watson and Sir Henry go out onto the moor to give the prisoner some food. (c) Watson and Sir Henry think they hear a ghost on the moor. (d) Watson sees a man on a rock. (e) Laura Lyons wrote a letter to Sir Charles and he burnt it. 3 Talk to a partner. (a) How many men are living out on the moor? What are they like? Make notes. (b) Watson writes to Holmes: I have a feeling of danger all the time a danger all the more terrible because I cannot describe it. What reasons does Watson have for feeling this?

(k) Holmes tells Sir Henry that he and Watson are returning to London. 2 Talk to another student. Conan Doyle writes about the powers of evil being stronger in the darkness. Do you ever feel this?

Chapter 15
Answer these questions. Try not to look at the book. (a) What relation was Stapleton to Sir Charles? (b) What killed Sir Charles? (c) Why did Stapleton steal one old boot and one new boot from Sir Henry? (d) Why did Holmes pretend to be in London when he was hiding on Dartmoor? (e) Why did Stapleton encourage the friendship between Sir Henry and his wife?

Chapters 11 & 12
1 Which three adjectives best describe Laura Lyons, and which three best describe Mr Stapleton? cunning, sad, wild, pretty, deceitful, desperate, happy, patient, anxious, kind 2 Talk to another student. How do you think Laura Lyons will help Holmes and Watson discover the truth? Why will she want to help them? 3 Answer these questions. (a) How does Holmes know that Watson is in the hut? (b) Who was the man Watson saw on the night he and Sir Henry went out after Seldon? (c) Why does Stapleton want people to think his wife is his sister? (d) Who does Watson describe as the man of iron.

Activities after reading the book


Talk to another student. Did you guess who the murderer was before Holmes tells the reader? Do you think The Hound of the Baskervilles is a good detective novel? Did you enjoy it?

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Publishe d and d istribu ted by P ear son Ed ucat ion Fact s heet wri tt en by M ary To malin F act shee t s eri es d evel ope d by L ou ise J ames