Friday, July 13, 2012

Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula?

If you order your custom term paper from our custom writing service you will receive a perfectly written assignment on Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula?. What we need from you is to provide us with your detailed paper instructions for our experienced writers to follow all of your specific writing requirements. Specify your order details, state the exact number of pages required and our custom writing professionals will deliver the best quality Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula? paper right on time.

Out staff of freelance writers includes over 120 experts proficient in Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula?, therefore you can rest assured that your assignment will be handled by only top rated specialists. Order your Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula? paper at affordable prices with Live Paper Help!

Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula?

The Sherlock Holmes stories were written by a man named Arthur Conan Doyle. They were written during Queen Victoria’s reign around the 1880’s. They were detective fiction stories. Detective fiction is basically a story based upon a mysterious crime that has been committed, and then solved by a detective � who is seen as a shining light of reason and logic in a dark, supernaturally gothic case. He detective is a genius who can spot clues and other sorts of things that other human beings would never notice. The detective solves the crime, which seems to other people to be supernatural, by using science, reason and logic to prove that the crime was committed by that of a criminal mastermind and not by supernatural elements.

Detective fiction originated from Edgar Allen Poe’s story, Murder In The Rue Morgue (Death Street). This was written in 1848 and was a new type of fiction that had never been seen before. It was set in the dark, gloomy, almost gothic, back-streets of Paris and showed the detective in a heroic light, solving the impossible through logic and reason. The detective in Poe’s story was called Dupin. The narrator was Dupin’s sidekick. This story set the conventions for Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, except that Doyle updated Poe’s conventions for the middle class audience in the 1880’s.

Doyle’s detective fiction followed certain rules and conventions. In most of the Sherlock Holmes stories there are certain conventions that appear in them (in some they do not, which I will discuss later). Certainly in his earlier stories there were always elements of the exotic (far-away countries such as India, unheard of plants, foreign animals) the gothic (gloomy backstreets) and the villain was almost always ugly and/or deformed.

In all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes’ sidekick, Watson, narrates. I will discuss this further later on. Also the victim was usually a woman. This is because in those times women were seen as the weaker sex and having a male as a victim who had been killed was extremely rare. Another rule Doyle followed was that he set the stories in real places, such as Surrey (The Speckled Band) or London (The Man With The Twisted Lip). The crime was almost always a murder and they always seemed to be caused by supernatural elements. Holmes uses deduction, linking clues and researching the victims past, science, reason and logic to solve the mystery.

His stories follow these conventions because they were popular with the middle class Victorians. They enjoyed reading about the exotic because during that time foreign countries were being discovered and there was a fascination with anything exotic in those days and they enjoyed reading about places, people and creatures from hard to reach, far away places. The gothic element was used to make the real places Doyle used seem scary and foreboding, so that the audience feels scared about their surroundings for a short time, but then when Holmes solves the case it gives them a sense of relief and they don’t feel scared anymore because Sherlock Holmes is always there to save the day.

The conventions and rules in these stories tend to reflect the Victorian values. The motive for murder is usually money. Money and power are usually linked and power was very important to Victorians. During the time when the Sherlock Holmes stories were being published England was in control of an empire which spanned two fifths of the world. Doyle’s stories were also popular because people probably enjoyed trying to work out the denouement (solution) along with Holmes. If they got the denouement right it would have made them feel good about themselves and if they failed to solve it, then it would probably only increase their awe in Holmes.

Holmes is seen as special to the readers and also to the narrator of the stories, his sidekick Watson. When he takes on a case he really gets into it and he researches it and finds out information. He is very dedicated to his work, as this quote shows below;

“So he sat as I dropped off to sleep and so he sat when a sudden ejaculation caused me to

wake up, and I found the summer sun shining into the apartment. The pipe was still betw-

een his lips, the smoke still curled upward, and the room was full of a dense tobacco haze

but nothing remained of the heap of shag which I had seen upon the previous night.”

This quote from The Man With The Twisted Lip shows that Sherlock Holmes didn’t sleep that whole night; he just sat there trying to work out the denouement and smoking a pipe. Also, when he visits the scene of the crime he also changes. He becomes drawn into his work and is like a hound on a scent. He crawls along floors with a magnifying glass and picks up on minute clues that other people would not have seen…

“His brows were drawn into two hard, black lines while his eyes shone out from beneath them

in a steely glitter…his nostrils seemed to dilate with a purely animal lust for the chase, and his

mind was so absolutely concentrated on the matter before him that a question or remark fell

unheeded upon his ears, or at the most provoked only a quick, impatient snarl in reply.”

Holmes is exceedingly different from the Victorian police force. When they cannot solve the crime, a relative of the victim or someone who wants the case solved, contacts Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a well known and respected character. People hear about him by word of mouth and he is highly recommended by people to another person. When Holmes takes on a case he stops at nothing to solve it. He researches the clues and he eliminates all the possibilities until he is left with the denouement. Sherlock Holmes is seen as better than the police and, whereas the police rush in and don’t get anything solved and they are depicted as being bungling idiots, Holmes goes in and solves the case almost effortlessly. This results in him looking even more brilliant and genius…

“I am sure, Mr. Holmes, that we are very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up.

I wish I knew how you reach your results.”

Holmes is also seen as heroic as well as brilliant. As it is usually a female victim, he is seen as rushing to the aid of a woman in trouble. He seems heroic because he always saves the day by using logic and reason to solve the case and eliminates the supernatural (devils, ghosts and the suchlike) and he always catches the criminal and brings them to justice.

There is also the fact that Holmes never accepts payment for solving the case and he sees his work almost as an art-form. Because he does not accept money for solving cases makes him appear almost like a Victorian version of Robin Hood; as he helps the needy and doesn’t reap any benefits for himself, except the satisfaction of successfully solving a case.

Sherlock Holmes in appearance slightly resembles a bird of prey. He has a large, hooked nose, like an eagle, and he has piercing eyes, that seem to pick up on every single little detail, whereas most people would merely dismiss them as meaningless or trivial, he sees them as clues and uses them to come up with the denouement. He can disguise himself so that he cannot be discovered in criminal places. It is almost as if he connects to the mind of a criminal;

“It took all my self-control to prevent me from breaking out into a cry of astonishment. He

had turned his back so that none could see him but I. His form had filled out, his wrinkles

were gone, the dull eyes had regained their fire, and there, sitting by the fire and grinning

at my surprise, was none other that Sherlock Holmes?”

Although Holmes is seen as absolutely fantastic, not many people knew that he was really a cocaine addict. This might be the reason why he was so brilliant at solving the cases � because he was partly a criminal himself. This could be seen as flawed genius. This is like some of the modern detectives seen in modern fiction and on television programs. Inspector Morse is an alcoholic, like Holmes with cocaine. Modern detectives are a lot like Holmes; extremely dedicated to their work and stopping at nothing to solve a case. Modern detectives also solve the cases using science and reason. They are a lot like Holmes, although maybe not as eccentric.

Holmes is depicted like this in all three of the texts we are looking at (The Curse of the Devils Foot, The Speckled Band and The Man with the Twisted Lip) and he acts the same in all of them, adding up clues, eliminating all supernatural possibilities and basically really into his work so that in the ends he catches the criminal and comes up with a correct denouement.

The narrator of the Sherlock Holmes stories is his sidekick Dr. Watson. This comes from Poe’s Rue Morgue story, the narrator of that was Dupin’s sidekick. Watson has to follow some conventions of his own � he has to list all of the events in chronological order and he also has to give his own opinions on situations. Because of this he can make Holmes appear brilliant without making him seem bigheaded � therefore inducing awe of Holmes in the reader. Watson makes the stories appear real as he gives his own opinions on situations and sometimes when Holmes gives the denouement he does not understand, sometimes like the reader, and has to ask Holmes to repeat what he has said and sometimes need the clues to be explained for him

“But I am all in the dark!” (Watson)

“Of course you are. You’ll know all about it presently.” (Holmes)

The reader trusts Watson because he is a doctor and you usually trust doctor because they are well respected. They Victorian readers also trusted him because he was a middle class gentleman and they were generally trusted and respected in the Victorian times. We also trust him because he is like us and often does not understand what Holmes is saying, and also because he aids us. Because he aids us and helps us he gains our trust.

Watson makes Holmes appear really brilliant because he hero-worships him and because it is not Holmes himself saying how brilliant he is Holmes doesn’t appear big headed he just appears even more fantastic.

“It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes requests, for they were always so exceedingly

definite and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery.”

“I could not wish for anything better than to be associated with my friend in one of those singular

adventures which were the normal condition of his existence.”

In all three of the texts we are looking at Watson is always the narrator of the story and he always hero-worships Holmes, putting in comments about how brilliant and how much of a genius he is. Modern sidekicks are not very similar to Watson as they usually understand what is going on and are not as slow as Watson. They also do not idolise their ‘superiors’ as much as Watson idolises Holmes and also they help towards solving the case as well, not as much as the main detective but a lot more than Watson helps Holmes with the case.

Another one of Doyle’s conventions is the element of the gothic. The Gothic element is where Doyle makes the real settings (such as London or Surrey) seem scary and dark; almost medieval (the Medieval times is where the term ‘gothic’ originated). He does this so that the settings seem darker and scarier, therefore making the storyline more dramatic and thus keeping the reader hooked on the story-line. Villains and the crime are described in a gothic light, such as the death of Doctor Grimesby Roylott in The Adventure of the Speckled Band where his body is described as;

“His eyes were fixed in a dreadful, rigid stare at the corner of the ceiling.”

This is seen as gothic because it is mysterious, and he is staring at the corner as if something supernatural and terrifying has been in his room and killed him.

Another example of the gothic in a Holmes story is in The Man with the Twisted Lip when Holmes is talking about the possible death of Neville St. Claire…

“There is a trap door at the back of that building, near the corner of Paul’s Wharf, which

could tell some strange tales of what has passed through it upon moonless nights.”

By this Holmes means human bodies. He makes a real setting (Paul’s Wharf) seem terrifying and gothic. It appears like a dark, dangerous place that you would not want to visit.

In all of the Holmes stories we have looked at in lessons there have been elements of the gothic or the medieval and supernatural, although these are especially prominent in The Case of the Devils Foot…in which you are led to believe some kind of supernatural force has been killing people as the people are found dead with horrible expression;

“Dead in her chair, with a twisted grimace of fear on her face.”

Doyle added the gothic into his stories because the language used is over the top and it adds atmosphere to the story. The gothic is always proved to be a red herring as it leads you to believe it is a supernatural force committing the crime, such as the devil or a witch or something, when really it is not anything supernatural at all, just a master of crime.

The gothic is a convention in Doyle’s stories, there is always some gothic in a Holmes story, even if very small. After Doyle, however, in modern detective fiction and T.V shows, the gothic is not used as much. It is used sometimes, in scenes like beside a dark canal, but not used in excess as it was with Doyle.

Another convention used a lot in Doyle’s stories is the element of the exotic. This may have come from either the Victorians near-obsession with all things from foreign, far-away places. It may also have come from the time Doyle spent doing medical training in India. Countries such as India and Africa feature heavily in Holmes stories, especially his earlier ones.

Saying this, however, in Doyle’s later work he tended to drop a few of his conventions � one of these being the element of exoticism. As you can see when reading The Man with the Twisted Lip you realise Doyle tried to drop conventions. This may be because he felt it was time for a change after sticking to his conventions. In The Man with the Twisted Lip there was no exotic and the whole story was a red herring as the villain actually turned put to be the victim in disguise.

Doyle’s stories also show the middle-class values at the time Holmes was written. These values and opinions are as follows

Money; The Victorians liked money a lot � it was like their driving force in life. Usually the motive for murder or crime in Holmes stories is money…often inheritance. This shows the extremes Victorians were prepared to go to for money and power.

Women; Victorians viewed women as the weaker sex. In Holmes stories women are often portrayed as “hunted looking and frightened” almost like a weak animal, such as a rabbit. Holmes is depicted as coming to the rescue of these women. Women were almost always the victims, the character who was murdered. The men hardly ever died.

Lower class; The lower class are always viewed as the main suspects of the stories � such as the gypsies in The Adventure of the Speckled Band and the homeless beggar in The Man with the Twisted Lip. This was because Victorians did not think the lower, working class were any good and they looked down on them.

The Deformed; The deformed, ugly or mental people were often depicted as the villains. The villain in Holmes stories is usually ugly or deformed such as the man with one leg in The Sign of Four (we did not read this story for our coursework but I am using it as an example). I will discuss the villains further later on.

Supernatural; During the Victorian period everyone became very interested in the supernatural. Doyle was one of them, which may be the reason there is an element of the supernatural in his stories � even if they are proved to be red herrings at the end.

Scandal; Middle class Victorians went out of their way to avoid scandal, and if a scandal happened, they covered it up as so no-one would ever find out. They liked people who were well respected and if your family had a scandal or were shown up then no-one would respect you anymore and sometimes it could ruin them. They hated scandal.

Now I am going to consider the villains in Doyle’s Holmes stories and the rules regarding them. In all three texts we have looked at all the villains are deformed or ugly…with an exception being The Man with the Twisted Lip in which the villain is revealed to be the victim in disguise. In The Case of the Devils Foot the villain, Mortimer Tregennis, has a stoop and in The Adventure of the Speckled Band Dr. Grimesby Roylott is described as;

“A large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun, and marked

with every evil passion, was turned from one to the other of us, while his deep-set bile

shot eyes, and his high thin fleshless nose, gave him somewhat a resemblance to a

fierce old bird of prey.”

And in The Man with the Twisted Lip the would-be villain is described like this;

“A broad wheal from an old scar ran right across it from eye to chin, and by its contraction had

turned up one side of the upper lip, so that three teeth were exposed in a perpetual snarl. A shock

of very bright red hair grew low over his eyes and forehead.”

This shows the convention for Doyle’s villains � unusually ugly and deformed. These reflect the Victorian stereotypes; that ugly and deformed people were evil and lower than normal people.

However, this convention turned out to prove a problem for Doyle. People always used to realise straight away that the ugly and deformed individual was the villain and it spoiled the story for them. Doyle tries to change this convention in The Man with the Twisted Lip by making the victim be in disguise as an ugly beggar.

Holmes is uncannily similar to some of his villains…especially Dr. Grimesby Roylott…as they both have incredible strength, even though they have different builds…

“I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not

much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden

effort, straightened it out again.”

He also has the same resemblance to Roylott; as they both resemble an old bird of prey. Holmes also is partly a villain himself � as he is a cocaine addict, and this could be seen as Holmes having a connection to the criminal world.

Modern villains are not like the villains in Doyle’s stories. The villains today are perfectly normal looking as it would be very predictable if the villain was exceedingly ugly.

Holmes solves his cases using deduction. He has no patience for the supernatural and does not believe in things such as superstition and devils. He goes to the library to research the background of key characters and suspects. Holmes solving the mystery through science, logic, reason and deduction is a convention as he always does it � he cannot solve the mystery through luck because then he wouldn’t seem anywhere near as brilliant as he does otherwise.

Holmes solving the mystery is comforting to the middle class audience as it makes them feel safe and that everything had been sorted out. It comforted them to think that there was someone like Sherlock Holmes around to keep away danger and scandal.

Considering all of this information I have come to the conclusion that Doyle’s earlier Holmes stories definitely followed a set formula but then as the stories continued and became more and more repetitive he tried to change some of his conventions � even experimenting with Sherlock Holmes death at one point � although that didn’t sit too well with his audience and he was forced to bring him back.

Definitely in his early work we see reoccurring images of the exotic…such as foreign animals, poisons and little aboriginal people (The Sign of Four) and the gothic, such as dark London back-alleys and moonless nights, and then the villains being usually ugly and deformed. You see real setting being used and we always see Watson narrating. In his later work we saw the exotic convention being dropped and also the ugly villain convention being played around with, as in The Man with the Twisted Lip.

These relate to modern detective fiction as they sometimes use similar conventions � such as elements of the gothic and making the case seem supernatural, although the exotic is not as overly used as now we have means of reaching the places middle class Victorians could only dream about. The villains are no longer ugly and deformed but look perfectly normal.

I can now come to the conclusion that even though the Sherlock Holmes stories were a detective breakthrough, bringing detective fiction into the mainstream in the early 1880’s, Doyle used things such as secret passages, undiscovered poisons, identical twins and suchlike so much that eventually they became untouchable for other detective fiction writing as then the storyline would be instantly predictable. Even so, he still changed detective fiction and Holmes could arguably be the best fiction detective and he is a thouroughly rememberable character.

Please note that this sample paper on Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula? is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula?, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on Do the Sherlock Holmes stories appear to follow a set formula? will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

Order your authentic assignment from Live Paper Help and you will be amazed at how easy it is to complete a quality custom paper within the shortest time possible!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.