Should Sherlock Holmes: A Study In Scarlet Be In The Canon

1188 words - 5 pages

Sherlock Holmes: a study in scarlet is the first short story in which readers meet Holmes and Watson. The novel depicts the society at the time of publication; in a rich and vivid detail. Highlighting topical issues; such as religion, the authority and morality of the police, the introduction of forensic science, and its effect on society. The reader is first introduced to the protagonist while conducting a blood test in a chemical laboratory. "I've found it! I've found it," he shouted to my companion, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand.” With religion still the accepted paradigm and Darwin's theory of evolution recently published and controversial, this may have been a ...view middle of the document...

It contrasts massively with books such as Wuthering Heights, because even though both books contain death Conan-Doyle writes so much better so that the reader is not saddened or confused but is enthusiastic and intrigued. This book would fit well in the canon as it is interesting, and people of all ages will find enthusiasm for Holmes and Watson. Roland Barthes identifies the different types of pleasure to be gained from reading realist texts compared with other texts. He calls realist texts ‘readerly’, because in reading such texts the reader begins not to be aware of the fact that he or she is reading and starts to get caught up in the pleasure of the narrative . Sherlock Holmes does this well with interesting characters and plot lines.
The police play a big role in the novel but are shown as untrustworthy and jealous; they show a disparity between themselves and Sherlock as he is revealed to be impartial and non-judgemental, despite his arrogance. This made his character more agreeable with the lower classes at the time of publication; with the police being a major source of oppression and fear. Throughout the novel Gregson and Lestrade make impulsive conclusions and flawed assumptions in addition they arrive with preconceptions and convict the wrong man, they also miss important clues and evidence that Sherlock later uncovers. "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment." At the time the police may have been seen as ineffective due to them basing their work on criminal stereotypes and punishing the wrong individuals. “That that fool Lestrade, who thinks himself so smart, has gone off upon the wrong track altogether. He is after the secretary Stangerson, who had no more to do with the crime than the babe unborn.” Conan-Doyle may have done this because it highlights his political viewpoints and views on society; for example he ran for parliament, representing the unionist party .The novel would be highly used if it were in the canon because of the way it shows society, in a way that other authors at the time may not have done because of the risk of giving the police a bad reputation and this makes it unique. Other novels use the greed of the aristocracy or the bad and disruptive behaviour of young people; Sherlock Holmes subverts this and shows the police as antagonists and not as good authority figures. This is why it should be in the canon, as it provides moral and philosophical discussion topics for young people....

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