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A study of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Essay

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Of the five Sherlock Holmes stories we have read, I will be writing about “The Silver Blaze”, “The Speckled Band” and “The Man With The Twisted Lip”. Sherlock Holmes, of 221 Baker Street is one of the most remarkable and remembered detectives of his time. Holmes is unlike any other fictional detective, as he seems almost too clever at times. Holmes is famous for his powers of observation and deduction. Holmes is able to change his age and gender in order to help solve a case but the image that sticks in most peoples head’s is of him in a ear-flapped traveling cap and with a pipe in his mouth

Arthur Conan Doyle began writing the stories 100 years ago, he chose set them in the past times, although to him the stories were set in the present tence. I can tell the stories are set 100 years ago because of the language, clothing and transport. In each story Holmes is required to travel up and down the country in order to solve the cases. He often travels by 1st class carriage, this shows he is of the upper class and will appeal to the readers, as they too were probably upper class when the stories were first wrote. In “The Speckled Band” Holmes and Watson travel by Pony Trap, this is another type of old fashioned transport.

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Cars were not around at the time the stories were written, however if they were used this would spoil the story as it would ruin the setting. The old fashioned language also plays a key part in the setting, some of the words and phrases Holmes uses are no longer used in modern day society such as “Pray continue your narrative” and “alas” that are used “The Speckled Band”. In the Silver Blaze Holmes says “Helloa” not only is this old fashioned language but also is it slightly unorthodox for Holmes as his grammar is of a high standard.

I think the setting appeals to the readers as there are no other old fashioned fictional detectives. In the modern day detective stories the detectives are not able to appear as clever as Holmes as they can solve their cases by taking D. N. A samples and matching them up with the suspects, leaving the hard work to science. As this sort of technology had not been invented while Holmes was alive, he had to solve the cases using only his intelligence and powers of observation. Each story is started in Holmes’s rooms, this too shows that Holmes was well off as houses in London were not cheap at the time.

Another piece of evidence to show that Holmes was of the upper class is that he had his own maid that cooks and cleans, although Holmes is never seen eating. Although Holmes does not charge for his services, all of his clients are wealthy people. In “The Speckled Band”, Holmes’ client Mrs Hudson, lives in a large house in the country. The fact that all Holmes’ clients are wealthy and important shows that Holmes too is important and wealthy. If Holmes dealt with poor less important people or less challenging cases it would ruin his reputation and the story as it takes a complex case to make a good story.

Of the three stories we have read, each has followed the same basic structure, the structure plays a key part in all of the stories, as it is the same throughout all of the stories it allows the reader to understand what is happening and to feel more involved as they know what will happen next. Each story starts with a brief comment from Watson, he will always try to make this case seem better than the previous one by saying things like “Of all these varied cases I cannot recall any which presented more singular features”.

Here Doyle is trying to hook the reader into reading the rest of the story by making them believe that this story will be better than the last. The case will then begin with a troubled client finding Holmes, never the other way round, as Doyle does not want to make Holmes appear desperate by looking for clients. The client explains their case before leaving it for Holmes to solve. Although Holmes does not advertise his services in any way, his clients always find him, this is often because someone has recommended him.

“I have heard of you from Mrs. Farintosh, whom you helped in the hours of here sore need. ” The fact that the client always finds Holmes largely adds to his reputation. There is one main difference in the opening of the stories, this is in “The Man with the Twisted lip” where start of the story is set at Watson’s house. The main difference here is that the client has not come to Holmes or Watson but to Watson’s wife, “Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light house” this also gives Watson a chance to explain the case to the audience before explaining it to Holmes.

Conan Doyle has started the story like this mainly to give Watson a chance to shine and show that there are some differences in the structure of his stories. Although Watson is portrayed as being quite stupid, this is only because he is out shone by Holmes’ intelligence, Watson is in fact a doctor and although he does not solve any cases he does come to some significant conclusion. The next part of the story will involve Holmes and Watson traveling to the scene of the crime, which is a crucial part of the story.

During their journey Holmes will often become “buried in the deepest thought”, here Holmes is already beginning to think of what may have happened before he has any real evidence. Although Holmes tries to distance himself from the police force his methods are exactly the same as that of the police. Each time Holmes visits the scene of the crime he is able to deduce more than anyone with him, often Watson.

Holmes will then drop a red herring by offering a false conclusion, e. g.in “The Speckled Band” we are lead to believe that the gypsies are responsible for the murder as Holmes thinks this, at the end of the story we learn that the gypsies had nothing to do with the murder and that they were the red herring. The red herring is often the same conclusion that the readers and Watson had come too. In each story red herring is designed to throw the audience off the right trail. It offers a too-easy conclusion to the case, tempting us to take the bait and making fools of us if we do, although after reading a few stories we know that Holmes first conclusion will be a red herring therefore prompting us to discard it.

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