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"The Man with the Twisted Lip," "The Final Problem," and "The Empty House" all by Arthur Conan Doyle, give a full understanding of each story and try to give a good idea of why these stories are still as popular today as they were 100 years ago.

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Friday 23rd October 2003 Wide Reading Assignment - Sherlock Holmes This assignment is based on three Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle which are, "The Man with the Twisted Lip," "The Final Problem," and "The Empty House." The aim is to give a full understanding of each story and to give a good idea of why these stories are still as popular today as they were 100 years ago. I will explain this by discussing some of the characters and taking into account the social and historical context. Sherlock Holmes stories are all quite different in their own way because they explore different kinds of crime and characters. Such as in "The Man with the Twisted Lip," where they are trying to solve a suspected murder and in "The Final Problem" they are trying to catch 'Professor Moriarty' for various crimes. These three stories do have some similarities, which are that Sherlock Holmes always solves the crimes and is always the main character. They also involve Dr. Watson, a doctor, who seems to be Holmes' companion in solving these crimes. Arthur Conan Doyle has created Holmes' character very effectively as in that period in history crime was rife in London and the public were scared and thought the police force were not protecting their community as well as they should. So because Holmes didn't work for the police force and always solved the crimes then he seemed to be like a hero to the public and maybe their fantasy because he kept people safe and they probably wanted so much for him to be real. The readers of Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England showed so much interest that when Doyle tried to end the stories of Sherlock Holmes by killing him in "The Final Problem" there was a public outcry and Doyle even received death threats because they wanted so much for him to carry on with this character that had caught their attention so vividly. ...read more.


I think, Watson, that if we drive to Bakers Street we shall just be in time for breakfast." "The Final Problem" was probably one of the most effective stories in that time in history because it is when Doyle tried to kill off Holmes and the readers were horrified. This story starts off with Watson writing a journal about the events that happened between Holmes and Professor Moriarty before they fell off the cliff. This story seems to give quite a different light to Holmes as you may be able to see in this extract when Watson states, "You are afraid of something?" And Holmes answers, "Well, I am." Holmes usually seems confident and in this story he seems to be scared of something. Even Watson sees a difference in his behaviour as this quotation shows: "There was something strange in all this. It was not Holmes's nature to take an aimless holiday." Holmes asks Watson to accompany him on a trip and goes on to tell him about the story of Professor Moriarty. Holmes describes him as being a man of "good birth" and "excellent education," so he seems to be a very intelligent man, but a man who uses his education to do criminal things. Holmes seems really worried as this is probably the most superior criminal mind he has ever had to face and he is not just worried for himself, he is also worried for the people of London. We can see this from the following extract: "I could not sit quietly in my chair, if I thought that such a man as Professor Moriarty were walking the streets of London unchallenged." Holmes seems to be overwhelmed by the intelligence of this man as he uses his mind and skills to be very dangerous. He used to be a professor, but he had a "criminal strain" that ran in his blood, which was probably the cause of his behaviour. He also has "cunningly devised" safeguards so he doesn't get caught. ...read more.


I think the simile he has used in this quotation is very imaginative and he gives me a good understanding of what the room is like. I also found in each of these stories, that Watson seems to be narrating them, which I found quite strange because I thought that Holmes would more than likely be telling the story, but then I thought Doyle may be using Watson to give the reader a full view of Holmes himself from another person's perspective. Conan Doyle always wrote crime stories. This was probably because they were so popular and caught the public's attention so vividly. I think that some of the reasons why these stories are so popular are because they are short stories so they are more accessible to the reader and don't make them feel as though they have to read a whole book. Also the language doesn't seem difficult, so the reader would probably not have any problems understanding it. In Victorian England the art of conversation was somewhat different to our modern day society. People of that time in history would not have used slang or colloquialism, so the form of these stories is Standard English. These stories are also very descriptive and have strong characters, which I think, help to intrigue and sustain the readers' attention, even in modern day society people still enjoy a good crime drama, which is shown because of all the different movies and programs such as, Columbo and Inspector Morse. I found these stories quite easy to read. I have personally enjoyed reading these stories and I can see why they are so popular and I think they will probably be very enjoyable in years to come. All of these stories have a little mystery in them and I think that is one of the main qualities that are needed for a good crime drama because it makes them interesting and I personally love mystery in a story. ...read more.

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