The coursework that we are doing is about Sir Author Canon Doyle, who made the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. I am going to seek to describe the character of Sherlock Holmes and compare it to his abilities and behaviour as a detective. This should serve as a testimony to the accuracy and mental ability of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s style of writing. We had to read three books based on his stories and write a short summary and description of each. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an incredible novelist, as he was able to capture the minds of his readers by bringing the character of Sherlock Holmes to life.
Although Doyle was able to create a life for the detective unlike any other, there are many similarities and agendas in the way that he told the story, for example, he always used a second person to say the story. They are both complex characters in their own ways, though Holmes is more mysterious. This may be because Watson narrates the stories, so we can see what he suspects; he is there to ask questions that the reader would ask. It is shown Watson isn’t as considerate as Sherlock Holmes when he says ‘Did you see anything more then me?
‘ and Sherlock Holmes replies ‘No, but I fancy I may have deduced a little more,’ it shows that Holmes uses his intelligence more then Watson. The author always gives the readers clues. When Dr. Roylott warns Holmes by saying ‘Don’t you dare to meddle with my affairs,’ The Speckled Band, we would straight away guess that he might be the villain in this story, as he feels uncomfortable with Holmes investigation. Correspondingly when Holmes asks whether John Clay’s ‘ears are pierced for ear-rings,’ The Red Headed League, we guess that he might be a well known criminal.
This is a technique that Doyle used to make the reader follow the investigation in the right track. Arthur Canon Doyle was one of the first men to invent a fictional character, but there were other authors like Agatha Christie who was incredibly famous for her detective stories. Canon Doyle had studied Latin while he was studying medicines; this is shown by the complicated expressions he uses in his sentences. It also shows the reader that he was well educated. Doyle wrote these particular stories because he wanted the Victorians to be aware of an inspector like Sherlock Holmes.
Not knowing the Victorians, it immediately sets an image in our mind of how the Victorians were. The Victorians even tried to find out where he lived in Bakers Street. Sherlock Holmes was the ideal police officer the Victorians wanted. The officers at that time were corrupt and didn’t appear to be protecting the society. Violence and crime were known as an ‘Everyday event,’ because of the murders, prostitution, drug abuse etc. The most known criminals like ‘Jack the Ripper’ got away with his knowledgeable methods by sending bits of human bodies to the police station, officers were ineffectual to prove that he was the villain.
Doyle attempted to kill off Sherlock Holmes in 1894, because he was tired of writing Sherlock Holmes stories. As a result of the public outcry, Doyle received death threats and was forced to carry on with the fiction, like it or not. Sherlock Holmes had a life of his own. Originally, the Sherlock Holmes stories were popular for the middle and upper class British people, especially the train travellers in the 1890’s. Doyle’s style of writing can seem to be very complicated at times to the average modern day’s readers.
In ‘The Red Headed League’, the climax is more like a thriller because it involves the Scotland Yard Officers, as well as Sherlock Holmes to capture the criminal. In ‘The Speckled Band’, the climax is set more like a horror sequence, which includes action with a mysterious creature, which later turns out to be a snake and the death of Dr Roylott. In ‘The Priory School’ the climax is set more like a mystery, which includes the death of the German head master Mr Heidegger and the kidnap of Lord Saltire.
Even though they might not be much thrilling to us, it would have been really interesting for the Victorian readers, because it was new to them at that time. The climax is always kept full of suspense either if it is about whether the criminal might escape from justice, e. g. John Clay in, The Red Headed league or about whether the innocent will be hurt e. g. Helen Stoner in, The Speckled Band. At the end, we notice that what we expected happens, which is the villain being punished and the victim being protected, which restores morality. Sherlock Holmes was described as “the relentless, keen- witted, ready-handed criminal agent”.
He has an “amazing reasoning power” and it surprises the readers in ways how he draws correct conclusions from small observations. In “The Red Headed League”, just by looking at John Clay’s “worn wrinkled and stained” knees Holmes realises that John Clay has been digging a passage to the bank. Alternatively, Holmes is also shown as a lonely man without a family life. I think this is done intentionally for psychological reasons to prevent readers from hating him because even though some might feel jealous for his superb investigation skills on the other hand they will have some sympathy for his lonely life.