Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
John Ridd is engaged in a schoolboy fight in the yard of Blundell’s school when John Fry, employed by Ridd’s father, comes to take the boy home. Before the two leave, however, young John completes his fight by knocking out his opponent. On their way home through the moorlands, the man and boy are nearly captured by members of the outlaw Doone band, which has been ravaging the countryside by stealing and killing. When John Ridd reaches his father’s farm, he learns that the Doones attacked and murdered his father only a few days previously. This incident stimulates the desire for revenge in all the residents of the parish of Oare, for the murdered man had been greatly respected.
John settles down to the responsibilities that the death of his father have thrust upon him. At first, his time is greatly consumed by farm work as he grows into the largest and strongest man in the Exmoor country. As he matures, John learns much about the wild Doone clan. There is one Doone, however, toward whom he feels no animosity: Lorna Doone, the beautiful daughter of the man supposed to be the murderer of John’s father. On first sight of the young woman, John had been stirred by her beauty. Ever since, he has been in great conflict, as he understands that his passion is directed toward someone he ought to hate for his father’s sake. After John’s great-uncle, Master Reuben Huckaback, is attacked and robbed by the Doones, he goes with John to swear out a warrant for...
(The entire section is 1311 words.)
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One of the great works of its kind, Lorna Doone is a romance that compellingly presents a strong, courageous hero and a pure, languishing heroine. Blackmore evokes the landscape of Exmoor with descriptions of natural beauty that rank among the finest in nineteenth-century English literature. His eye is almost as good as William Wordsworth's, and he misses few significant details of plant and animal life in the region. Blackmore also renders effective adventure scenes as John Ridd confronts the outlawed Doone family and fights its most powerful member, Carver. Blackmore's writing provides pleasure for readers seeking thrills as well as for those who enjoy moving descriptions of nature.
(The entire section is 108 words.)