The Moonstone

The Moonstone Literary Elements


Mystery/Detective Novel

Setting and Context

Briefly India, 1799; then, England, 1848-49

Narrator and Point of View

Several narrators, all in the first person.

Tone and Mood


Protagonist and Antagonist

Franklin Blake and Rachel Verinder are the main protagonists, while Godfrey Ablewhite and the three Indian priests are the main antagonists.

Major Conflict

A corrupt British army officer steals a precious Diamond from a shrine in India; after being given to the officer’s niece on her birthday, the Diamond is stolen again.


The real and final climax of the story comes later in the story. An earlier, “lesser” climax occurs in the middle of the Third Narrative (Franklin’s), when Franklin Blake discovers his own name on the hidden nightgown. However, the denouement does not begin until after Godfrey Ablewhite’s disguise is removed and he is revealed to be the thief (Fifth Narrative, by Franklin Blake).


As a mystery story, The Moonstone’s plot is told with characters following pieces of evidence that are possibly suspicious or promising. In that way, almost every piece of evidence can be interpreted as foreshadowing. One example includes Mr. Bruff calling Godfrey Ablewhite a “meanly deceitful man,” a moment which foreshadows how Godfrey will eventually be found—wearing a disguise. Perhaps the most important, clear, and prominent foreshadowing statement is when Colonel Herncastle’s cousin says, “I am not only persuaded of Herncastle’s guilt; I am even fanciful enough to believe that he will regret it, if he keeps the Diamond; and that others will live to regret taking it from him, if he gives the Diamond away" (38), which foreshadows all of the ill situations to come after Rachel receives the Diamond from her late uncle.




The story of the Diamond’s past, told in the Storming of Seringapatam, is reminiscent of the histories of real-life famous diamonds. Both the famous Orlov Diamond (a black stone) and the Hope Diamond (a blue stone) have legendary stories relating back to their place of origin—India; both stones are rumored to have curses on them because they were plucked from the foreheads or eyes of Indian idols. Also, the stained nightgown, which is central to the disappearance of the Moonstone, is an allusion to the real-life case of the Road Hill House Murder. In this murder case, famous detective Jack Whicher said that the case was hinging on whether or not the stained (in this case with blood) nightgown was found.


The Shivering Sand; the statue and worship ceremony of the Moon God; the Diamond itself; Godfrey’s appearance; Franklin’s appearance; Rachel’s appearance (see Imagery section).




There is parallelism in the narratives of The Moonstone. They are not of the same length, but they are all set up with a brief introduction, the story, and closing; and they are all told in the first-person.

Metonymy and Synecdoche



The Shivering Sand is often personified as a character, with its “brown face” which “dimples” and “quivers.” The Diamond is another inanimate object that seems to take on life of its own, as it even shines on its own in the darkness.