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Now, when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning, and knock sleepy people up out of their beds, I presume that it is something very pressing that they wish to communicate”. This quote shows the time in which it was written, and it also demonstrates the calibre of the reader, for the language is rather sophisticated. As it remarks that it was not commonplace for a young ‘lady’ – the use of lady alone shows manners and curtsey that I’m afraid to say somewhat lacks in modern times – to be walking about the metropolis alone. ‘Metropolis’ was a word used frequently to describe the new city, as many people thought that city life was somehow magnificent and inspiring, as it was developing in the Victorian era. For the most part of the, nineteenth century families were large and patriarchal. They encouraged hard work, respectability, social deference and religious conformity.
While this view of nineteenth century life was valid, it was frequently challenged by contemporaries. Women were often portrayed as either Madonna’s or whores; yet increasing educational and employment opportunities gave many a role outside the family. Novels were also rather popular, and were the talk of most upper class social circles. As the 19th Century went on many people in Victorian Britain, were in search of excitement, and either found this in novels, or exploration of the continents. This is why literacy became so popular, especially tales of crime, where good triumphs over evil; such as in Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s serious of Sherlock Holmes Novels.
This included books such as ‘The Speckled Band’ from which the quote above originated from. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle developed the Character Sherlock Holmes as a perfect amateur detective, surrounded in mystery, and with his loveable sidekick, Dr. Watson; they became the perfect duo, and became extremely favoured. There was even public outcry when Sir Arthur successfully ‘Killed Off’ Mr. Holmes in a tragic sequence of events, which led to his re-introduction and continuing of the original series.
But the key part of an exciting Novel; that made the Speckled Band so particularly popular is the build up of tension, and the pace and development of the storyline, with the subtle regular additions of mystery, this ‘plan’ is used commonly in most of the books in the Sherlock Holmes Sequence. However, this book probably does so very well, due to its characters, settings, red herrings, and because of its different possible conclusions and use of language.
Firstly, the story begins in the past tense, with Dr. Watson narrating upon the events of this particular case. This allows the reader to become close to Dr. Watson, and it also allows them to join him in his admiration of Sherlock Holmes. “I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing, fully dressed, by the side of my bed. He was a late riser, as a rule…” this depicts the relationship between Holmes and Watson remarkably. They seem to live in harmony, each with their own habits.
Dr. Watson prides himself, I believe on being the most down to earth and orderly of the pair. I feel from this that Holmes is not in contact with his emotions, for unlike any other person; he didn’t try to wake Dr. Watson, for he just waited, for Dr. Watson to awake of his own accord, perhaps out of politeness, or because his familiar presence there alone, would wake him. This relationship to some extent relies on jealousy, as I believe they are envious of each other; for Sherlock’s brains and cunning methods; and for Watsons’s emotionally and seemingly regular untroubled life.
After reading the ‘Speckled Band’ it wasn’t too hard to pick up information about the characters of Dr. Watson, and Sherlock Holmes, which are the staple characters in the Sherlock Holmes series. Each story seems to reveal a little more about their personalities, and character traits. This is what, I have deduced from this chapter of the Sherlock Holmes sequence. Firstly, his confidence overwhelms me; he is of course overly certain of his stereotypical views of characters, i.e. the villains. His confidence in his ability is also strong, as this quote shows, “No, But I fancy that I may have Deduced a little more. I imagine you saw all that I did however”.
This as I just mentioned shows us that he is confident of his skills, as an amateur detective, but he doesn’t show this in a way that is outlandish or overly manipulating. This quote was directed at Dr. Watson, and this could point to the fact that they have a ‘Teacher, Pupil’ relationship, which suits them well. Consequently, Sherlock does seem to begrudge every detail of the case that he ‘spoon feeds’ to Dr. Watson. I believe this is a technique used by the author, as the audience of this Novel, are similar to Dr. Watson, as Sherlock wants Dr. Watson to work it out for himself, so does the author want the Audience to remain focused, and imaginative whilst placing themselves in Dr. Watsons Shoes.
He also seems to have a specific attention to detail, the quote, “Pray Be Precise As to Details”, allows me to believe and understand why Sherlock Holmes, Does what he does. As he is not a member of the police force, in fact he despises them, nor is he a doctor, yet his knowledge of the anatomy is vast, his methods of deduction seem to be ‘off the wall’, and this is because he enjoys the thrill of discovering a murderer, and the way in which the crime was committed.
That is why he smothers himself in the details of the case, in order to see the murder, from the murderer’s perspective. With his intelligence being great, he needs to challenge himself, therefore occupying his time with things of a more complex nature; it’s mysterious and coincidental that Sir Arthur presents Holmes with cases that are not simple, cases that couldn’t be solved by the Metropolitan Polices, so that Sherlock is often wrapped up in the case, and often emotionally lonely. But, this would make for very dull reading, if there was no thrill or passion in the detection of a murderer, hence why the series sold and was enjoyed so very well.