Context and Analysis of Sherlock Holmes Stories

Topics: Sherlock Holmes

This sample essay on Sherlock Holmes Essay offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

At the time the Sherlock Holmes stories were written there was a large influx of crime, which was becoming uncontrollable, as the small police force did not have enough resources or men to cope with the sudden increase in crime. This started a new popularity in detective crime stories throughout London and Britain.

The stories often involve a sense of the weaknesses of the police. In different stories, we see many police all working on the same crime as Holmes and yet none seem to get anywhere near as close to an answer as Sherlock does.

In “The Man with the Twisted Lip” we see instances of Holmes showing greater intelligence than the police. Inspector Bradstreet says to Holmes, “I wish I knew how to reach your results”. This shows us that even the police, the people that the public are meant to have faith in are astounded at Holmes’ intelligence.

His mind is one of incredible thinking and he impresses everyone who has heard of his crime solving feats. We often see certain stereotypes being used, as in The Twisted Lip the villain has a scarred lip. This is stereotypical as villains usually do have some sort of distinctive feature.

Analysis of The Man With The Twisted Lip

In The Man With The Twisted Lip Watson uses two important words when describing Sherlock: “definite” and “mastery”.

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These give an insight into his character and indicate a lot about what makes him so popular even now. In a city of uncertainty, crime and mystery Holmes has confidence in himself and has a way of closing each case successfully. One of the main reasons for the enduring popularity of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective is the fact that Doctor Watson narrates them all.

This keeps us in suspense, as Dr. Watson is also wondering how Sherlock Holmes is gathering key information from such little things, as are we, as the reader. Also, with seeing the stories through the eyes of Watson, seeing the same clues as Holmes, we are kept wondering as to how Holmes is going to solve this crime. We as the reader also want to see how the story ends. Holmes often shows signs of having an idea about what happened but never shares with Watson, therefore, never allowing the reader to know how the story ends and therefore keeping the mystery and wonder in the story.

The fact that we never know what Holmes’ is thinking keeps us in suspense. We are given the same clues and we know the same information we can’t solve the mystery like Holmes. However, using these clues we can try and come to our own conclusions as to how the story will end. This can often be fun as we try and see whether or not we were right. This is another reason why these stories are so popular. In all the stories we see a good versus evil plot.

This battle between what is right and what is wrong make a story interesting. If there is a hero there is a villain. If something is hidden during the story it will be revealed at the end. We discover that, Boone is actually Neville St. Clair in disguise. No-one has been murdered in what we thought was a murder mystery. There has not even been any major crime. In “The Man with the Twisted Lip” Watson goes to sleep while Holmes stays up all night working out the answer. The ignorance of Watson and clear thinking of Holmes is contrasted with the drug addiction and confusion of those in the opium den. These oppositions create a good story, as it is needed if a story is going to be interesting.

Although everyone knows Holmes is the cleverest of the pair and that Watson is his sidekick so to speak they each have a mutual understanding and respect for each other. The reader is also, in a way, part of this relationship as we are as clueless as poor Watson is in these stories and therefore have the same respect for Holmes’ crime solving capabilities. This is also the case since we see the stories through the eyes of Watson that helps relate to him and to feel as annoyingly clueless as he does.

At the point towards the end of the story when Holmes finally reveals how the mysteries were solved, it is revealed to us how each clue played a part in solving the crime and we are dazzled by Holmes’ powers of deduction. Yet, we have had all the same clues, but neither Watson nor we could work this out. In these situations it helps to have Watson as the narrator as we are as clueless as him, if Holmes was the narrator then the stories would all be over very quickly due to the fact he solves them so fast. With Conan Doyle making Watson the narrator, it allows the story to develop through not only Watson’s eyes, but also our own. This builds up the suspense and tension of the story in such a way that readers become enthralled and don’t want to put the book down until the story is finished.

Holmes’ relationship with Watson is a very interesting one. Watson is the complete partner for Holmes in many respects. I say this because Watson is so trusting in Holmes. As we see in “The Speckled Band” Watson follows Holmes blindly into a potentially dangerous situation. We see Watson sit in the total darkness of a room where a murder and attempted murder had previously occurred. These could have been anything but such is Watson’s trust in Holmes he puts his life in his hands. This shows complete respect and trust for Holmes making him a very useful sidekick. This adds interest to the readers as they start to think, what if Watson wrongly puts his life in Holmes’ hands and pays the ultimate price.

The main reason for the enduring popularity of the Sherlock Holmes stories is the fact that we are constantly being kept in suspense as to where the story is going, what Holmes is thinking and how he can possibly solve the case. Eventually, what is clear to him becomes clear to us. As he says in “The Blue Carbuncle”, “My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.” We know that he always solves the crime as this is classic realism yet we do not know how he comes to his conclusions until he explains. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are popular because they make the reader think, this is a rare quality I have not found in books I have read and this is why I like these stories, because you keep thinking about them once you have put the book down.

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Context and Analysis of Sherlock Holmes Stories. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Context and Analysis of Sherlock Holmes Stories
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