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This is an essay on the compilation of stories, 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', and why they have remained popular for all these years.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

English Coursework This is an essay on the compilation of stories, 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', and why they have remained popular for all these years. As my first point I would like to comment on the use of Watson as a narrator. I think that the writer does this to show how clever Sherlock Holmes is compared to an ordinary person. We see this as Watson often gets confused and doesn't know what's going on, where as Holmes always seems to be in control. An example of this is in the story 'The Blue Carbuncle', before the mystery has even come to light, Sherlock Holmes deduces certain things from a battered hat. "He does not have gas laid on in his house". This amazes Watson, because he could not deduce anything from the hat. This serves to illustrate Watson's stupidity in comparison with Sherlock Holmes. Other good examples of this are at the ends of the stories, when Holmes explains to Watson how he drew his conclusions to solve the case.

Middle

"Having thumped vigorously on the pavement two or three times." It also means that we don't know how Holmes' mind works when he is thinking about a hard case. We don't see all the pieces coming together; we just see the finished picture. Another bad thing about having Watson as a narrator is that it makes the stories predictable. He always has a theory about who committed a crime or how it occurred, and he is always wrong. He never solves anything, it is always Holmes who comes to the right conclusion. This means that we know what will happen at the end of every story. We know that Holmes will solve his case and there will be satisfactory closure. This is because the stories are written in the style of classic realism, which means that there is always a hero, in our case Holmes, who has a problem, which he or she always surmounts. Also, justice is always seen to been done. Another reason that the books have remained so popular is the humour that the writer uses in the stories to lighten the mood and relieve the tension.

Conclusion

This makes the reader surprised when they find out what the "Speckled Band" really is. It also makes them impressed with the writer and induces them to read more stories. Another way that Conan Doyle keeps the reader guessing is that he keeps throwing plot twists to confuse them and take them right back to square one. An example of this is in the story of "The Speckled Band" when Holmes thinks that it was gypsies who killed the girl, but we later see that it could not have been them. A series of clues then leads Holmes to the real killer, the girl's father. This makes the reader want to read on and find out what happens. Another example of this is in the story of "The Man With The Twisted Lip", when no one would guess that the beggar is really the apparently murdered man's alter ego. Also readers who had read previous books would know about these things, and look for them. In conclusion, I would say that there is no single reason for the continued popularity of the stories, but it is a culmination of all the ones mentioned above.

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