The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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What are the many themes of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

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One theme in The Hound of the Baskervilles is the way in which preconceptions and prejudices lead people astray. When Dr. Mortimer first tells Sherlock Holmes about Sir Charles Baskerville's death, Dr. Mortimer includes a long-winded and far-fetched tale about an ancient hound who plagues many generations of the Baskerville family. Dr. Mortimer believes this hound was to blame for Sir Charles's sudden demise. The dog is essentially what's called, in mystery parlance, a red herring, or a clue that is meant to set the reader and the detective on the wrong path in solving the mystery. Another red herring in the book is Selden, the mysterious convict on the moors, as well as Barrymore the butler, who is acting strange but really is just providing food to Selden, his wife's brother. The real murderer, Stapleton, appears innocuous until later in the book, but the reader might be thrown off at first by preconceptions about an escaped convict or about a mysterious hound. Holmes, on the other...

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