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How does Conan Doyle make the reader believe in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson?

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Introduction

"When we talk of Sherlock Holmes we invariably fall into the fancy of his existence." T.S. Eliot. How does Conan Doyle make the reader believe in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson? The stereotypical image in most people's minds whenever the name "Sherlock Holmes" is mentioned is the magnifying glass, deerstalker hat and smoking a pipe. He has more or less become a part of our English culture, almost as much as English tea, Yorkshire puddings and cricket. Few of the number of people who can picture that stereotypical image of Sherlock Holmes have actually read the books. There have been other sources which have informed society of Holmes' features; there have been, numerous television productions, approximately two hundred and fifty Sherlock Holmes films, many newspaper interviews with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the author of the amazing book and documentaries on the story. Nevertheless, in the original publications in "The Strand" magazine the detective's stereotypical image was never described in the way it has evolved. ...read more.

Middle

It is almost a type of 'principal evidence' in the case. This method also gives the information to the reader as the characters discover it; this gives a thrilling desire to crack the mystery before the detective. The tales themselves appear plausible by including credible names, dates and places, such as the Northumberland Hotel and Grimpen Mire, both of which actually exist in London and Dartmoor areas. This realistic idea is strengthened by the normality that dramatic proceedings appear from; practically all of these tales begin and end at the Baker Street flat, as with "The Hound of the Baskervilles". Also, each case develops from a seemingly innocent event for example; Dr Mortimer's walking stick was accidentally left in Holmes' flat in "The Hound of the Baskervilles". Subsequent to one of the "most gripping and disturbing" cases the characters return to the Baker Street flat. This gives a sense of familiarity to the reader making them believe that they are with Holmes and go about his cases routines with him. ...read more.

Conclusion

One more feature used to make Sherlock Holmes' cases give the impression of reality is the historical and social context included. The methods of transport and communication such as the hansom cab in chapter four and the telegram to Barrymore in chapter five of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" makes it factual to the time and technology of 1902. Holmes' treatment of the policeman Lestrade for example ordering him around shows Holmes' arrogance and certainty in his own superiority. This is also reflected in his lack of police involvement until right at the end when a way of disposing of the criminal is required. This also proves that police detection was still developing in the early 1900s. All the above features of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing techniques helped create a tremendously believable detective, mainly by the contrasting characters which roughly entirely reflect the historical and social context of the stories. It is through these techniques that Conan Doyle makes the reader believe in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, even convincing them that Holmes is the only man to help solve their problems. ...read more.

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