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Conan Doyle's hero Sherlock Holmes was popular in Victorian and Edwardian society for many reasons. What, in your opinion, makes 'The Red-Headed League' exciting and successful?

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MIKE PHILLIPS 11D Conan Doyle's hero Sherlock Holmes was popular in Victorian and Edwardian society for many reasons. What, in your opinion, makes 'The Red-Headed League' exciting and successful? "The Red Headed League" is a short story that revolves around a mysterious organization which Mr. Holmes's client; Mr Wilson was working for until, for some reason, it dissolves. Finally this bizarre league simply turns out to be a diversion to distract Mr Wilson while criminals tunnel a secret passage from his cellar intending to rob gold from the adjacent bank. I hope to analyse the methods employed by Doyle that makes this and all his stories so interesting and exciting. To find out what makes the story exciting, we must first ascertain what the audience of Doyle would of found exciting and thus made them read the book. This is of course because Doyle would probably have had no idea that his books would be read hundreds of years later, and he would have written his stories for the people of the time. Many of the people who could read and indeed afford to 'waste' money on books for the mere purpose of leisure reading would have been middle to upper class in society, therefore it is easy to presume that audience's hero would have been middle or higher class in status. ...read more.


This is because a homosexual detective would not have been as popular as a heterosexual one as in the 19th century; being gay was virtually unheard of, and definitely frowned upon.) Holmes is shown as being perfect in some respects... He is the relentless, keen witted, ready-handed criminal agent ... Many people would respect him, if he were real, as he would have quite possibly been the greatest detective ever, but Doyle gives Sherlock poor social skills; in some circumstances he is quite rude and impatient (though on the whole, he is very polite,). He is also suggested, not directly said, to be a lonely man; with the exception of Watson, Holmes is alone in life, his only friend is the case he is at present working on. I think Doyle has to give his character his downsides; otherwise, he could be construed as perfect. The readers would not accept this, as many would feel jealous and hate Holmes for his 'perfectness'. As it is, many people, after reading the stories, can feel, that although they could never be as great a detective, they can still as good a person, if not better. Doyle uses characterisation as one of his methods of describing a character. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman, obese, pompous, and slow. As Doyle's stories are short, he cannot afford to use space within the book describing minor characters that will only appear in one novel. ...read more.


It is not only the criminal that this applies too. It is because of the pawnbroker's financial greed that he was drawn into pointless tasks, without question. The secondary moral of the story is that crime doesn't pay. This can be interpreted from the fact that the criminal is apprehended. Sherlock Holmes stories were very popular during the 18th century due to the various literary techniques employed by the author, Conan Doyle. He shows the ability of getting the reader inside the story, and keeping them reading throughout the entire series. Allowing the reader to be part of the story, I think is the key the series' success. Doyle was the first person to use this sort of techniques; I feel it was Doyle tat invented the crime genre. His basic principals of writing are still used by novelist today. And even with the special effect of television, scriptwriters still base there programmes round the outline of a Holmes mystery, the most popular technique is the denouement, where the story is wrapped up and explained to the audience. The outline, I feel, is most frequently use in the popular Inspector Morse series. Morse leads a lonely life, his also has a partner of lesser ability, and he has the ability to draw conclusions from small observations. This is the proof that Doyle has had a lasting effect on literature. Overall, the brilliant plot, gripping climax, excellent characterisation and incredible sense of realism makes The Red Headed League a Timeless classic. ...read more.

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