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Pre-1914 Literature Arthur Conan Doyle

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Pre-1914 Literature - Arthur Conan Doyle The Victorian era from 1837 to 1901 saw many revolutionary accomplishments by the British Empire. The Victorian time was well renowned for its contribution to the British industrial revolution and also many new ideas and ways of thinking. This time period also changed the face of Britain forever as transactions between different nations occurred and culture from all over the world found a place to carry out affairs in Britain. The Victorians did not like this much but as time passed Britain has become a cradle for the diverse cultures from all over the world. Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish author most acknowledged for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes. By exploring a selection of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle they reveal the Victorian attitudes towards gender, ethnicity and class and these are the topics which will be discussed in the following analysis. Victorian attitudes towards gender were much different than what it is today. Men and women were not equal in terms of status. Men had more manipulation and control over women. Men and women had different roles and responsibilities, men were more family leaders and women were more domestically involved. The typical Victorian man was respected because they were thought to be intelligent, rational, doing things with reason and cause. In 'The Speckled Band', Holmes' companion Watson discusses his admiration about Holmes: "admiring the rapid deductions, as swift as intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis with which he unravelled the problems which were submitted to him". This quote portrays how the Victorian's saw men as intelligent. In another Sherlock Holmes novel: 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', Holmes himself acknowledges the manly intelligence that he posses: "I have excellent ears". This reveals the male attitude of being superior in terms of intelligence. On the other hand women were seen as not intelligent and over emotional. ...read more.


The Victorian unfairly created ideologies and judgements; they underestimated other cultures like the Indians. In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', Arthur Conan Doyle has displayed clever remarks that significantly are hinting out the hatred of foreigners. East London at the Victorian era saw many imports and exports to and from the Far East in the Docklands area. It could almost be said that the Victorians were hypocritical, because of the fact that the British during this era and previous ages had also visited other countries, and in some cases they colonised others from all over the world. These cases are evident throughout history for example: The British were heavily involved in the tragic African slave trade. Although these facts were more than likely known to the Victorians, they did not realise how the defenceless African people felt when foreign invaders came and destroyed their way of life and transformed it into a life of hardship and misery just to fulfil the desire for wealth. And still the Victorians claim that they fear foreigners who have simply come for financial and trade purposes. Evidence supporting the case that the Victorians did not like their foreign visitors can be found in a variety of situations in 'The Man with the Twisted Lip'. At the very beginning of the novel, the issue of opium is raised, however, not surprisingly foreign traders are involved too: "But now the spell had been upon him". This quote is subliminally hinting that the opium is a spell and the suppliers of the opium (The foreign merchants) have put the spell on an "innocent" Victorian man: "had spoken to us of her husband's trouble". The docks were an area full of immigrants: "among the dregs of the docks"; this is referring to the workers at the docks and their use of opium. "Dregs" signifies the docks as being a wasted, undesirable and filthy area, where no such Victorian would go: "approached by a step flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave". ...read more.


From 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', this attitude is clearly shown: "wash his hands, and his face is as black as a tinker's. Well once his case is settled he will have a regular prison bath". This quote's significance is that the poor people were always the assumed of committing crimes, because that is the only way they can survive. When someone decides to change their class it is seen as the worst possible thing that could happen in the view of Victorians. The poor cannot be changed to the aristocracy because of their past and their low status. The same way a man of the aristocracy cannot become lower than his usual class, if this does happen then this is seen as the most shameful situation. Prime examples are Dr Roylott from 'The Speckled Band' and Mr St. Clair from 'The Man with the Twisted Lip'. From analysing mainly the two novels; 'The Speckled Band' and 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' that were both written by Arthur Conan Doyle, the Victorian attitudes towards gender, ethnicity and class are revealed. In terms of gender these points have been discussed and proven; Men were fare more intelligent and rational than women. Women were over emotional; they also had authority over domestic matters. However, men were in control over all aspects of Victorian life. Points concerning ethnicity were; Victorians felt threatened and also hated foreigners (Xenophobia). Victorian saw foreigners and animals as dangerous and mischievous. Victorian towards class was that the Aristocracy were very wealthy, the working class worked for their wealth and the lower class was just poor. Someone transferring classes was not acceptable in Victorian society, the Victorians held a strong belief that someone should stick to their status and class. From the previous Victorian assumption we can conclude that the Victorian morals, values and thinking were much contrasting than what the present views on society are, and things have changed in a positive way. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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