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What do your chosen three stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories tell us about English society in the nineteenth century?

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Introduction

Kim Challenger What do your chosen three stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories tell us about English society in the nineteenth century? The three short stories I have decided to study are, "The Speckled Band", "Silver Blaze", and "The Man with the Twisted Lip." These were all written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and are of a detective genre. They were first published in a magazine in the Victorian times called "The Strand". The stories are all of a similar length because they fitted into columns in the magazine and were all short stories. On Conan Doyle's last story, "The Final Problem", there was a public outcry because they loved Sherlock Holmes's character so much and Conan Doyle killed him off. As a result of this outcry, Conan Doyle was forced to bring him back in "The Empty House", in 1905. The Victorian period is the time when Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire from 1837 to 1901. It was a time of growth in the areas of wealth, technology, culture and literature. There was a class system and this was believed to have been dictated by God. There were three classes; upper class, middle class and working class. There was also an "underclass" who could not support themselves and lived in extreme poverty. ...read more.

Middle

The structure of the stories were all quite similar; Dr Watson introduces the story from his notes in first person narrative. Holmes then interviews the victim/person and then divulges all the information back to Watson, therefore the reader, at the same time. Holmes and Watson then travel to the scene of the crime where Holmes minutely examines all the clues and alone solves the mystery. Conan Doyle makes Sherlock fit into the Victorian society, as he is a middle class gentleman who conforms to the morals of the times. He uses formal speech and is well mannered, and is an honourable character. He also has a sense of humour, as shown in the "Speckled Band" when he says to the villain, Dr Roylott, "Your conversation is most entertaining. When you go out, close the door, for there is a decided draught." Sherlock is also a serious and hard-working man. He is a detective because he enjoys his work, not because he needs the money. This shows he is dedicated to his job but is also laid-back. Victorians needed stability because of all the crimes, the class system, and people in severe poverty. I think that Conan Doyle was trying to send some sort of message to the public who had suffered crimes in that, someone is always there to help. ...read more.

Conclusion

"He is a hard man," is her reply, "and he perhaps doesn't know his own strength." She tries to stick up for her father, and says it's not his fault. When she leaves Sherlock's office, her father comes in looking for her. Helen is now in real danger because she's been followed by him. He's not even her real father, he's her step father and she is a grown woman, so it shows how men overpowered women. The language used in Conan Doyle's stories is a hundred years old. Words which are used have a completely different definition to today's English. For example, the word "shag" is used for tobacco in the Victorian times, and today it is used for example, tussled, loose hair on a dog, a shaggy dog or even a shaggy rug. Some of the language is also hard to understand, for example, "I had to come to an entirely erroneous conclusion, which shows my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data." My personal opinion of the Conan Doyle language is that they are too hard to understand, and I think they are boring. They are too old fashioned and I didn't really enjoy them. If I had to choose a story as my favourite, it would be "The Speckled Band", as it's a lot easier to understand and get in to, and it explains more carefully what is going on. ...read more.

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