- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

Sherlock Holmes: Explore the Reasons Behind the Enduring Popularity.

Essay by   •  February 11, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,732 Words (15 Pages)  •  1,779 Views

Essay Preview: Sherlock Holmes: Explore the Reasons Behind the Enduring Popularity.

Report this essay
Page 1 of 15

Sherlock Holmes: Explore the reasons behind the enduring popularity.

One of the main reasons for the enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes from the time it was written to the present day was the way that all the stories were told through the eyes of Dr. Watson. This showed how incredible Sherlock Holmes was when his own powers of deduction could see a lot more clues and evidence from the same hat as we the reader could see. Also with Watson being the narrator, we are kept in suspense as to what the final outcome is, Holmes can often know this from a very early stage but Watson and the reader still needs him to explain it to us. This leads to a great final scene that often involves conflict between Watson, Holmes and the villain. From Watson's accounts of the mysteries, we can try and interpret the evidence in our own ways and like Watson try to be an amateur detective; this just builds up adoration for Holmes' great work. When these stories were being written, there was a massive increase in the population of London, which caused a great increase in crime in the city, as the small police force couldn't deal with them. This encouraged a renewed interest in the detective genre that successfully showed the two different sides of London. In several mysteries there is a great aspect of humour, this is shown in two major ways. One of them is the story lines, some of them are totally ridiculous, and the other is the incompetence of the police force.

When the original Sherlock Holmes stories were published, each mystery was split into several issues and then released in "The Strand Magazine" this increased the suspense as people had to wait for the next part of the story. All the stories already have a significant amount of suspense as only Holmes is aware of what the crime is going to be, with each mystery split up into several issues, the further increases the tension in the stories.

With the industrial revolution, more people kept moving to London, this caused great problems with overcrowding. The police force that would have been able to deal with the original population could not handle the sudden increase and this lead to a great rise in crime levels. Whilst many more criminals existed people who read the Sherlock Holmes stories had faith that he would be able to stop it happening to them. This shows how symbolic Holmes was to the reading public as they thought he would be enough to save them. They can think that there may be a real life detective with equal qualities as the great Holmes himself.

The police force was frequently made to appear a mockery by Holmes; there are several examples of this in "The man with the twisted lip." "One mistake had been made in not arresting Boone instantly," This involves Holmes criticising how the police have conducted their experiment. This shows that the police could not make proper decisions and were extremely incompetent. Another example of this is clearly shown when the chief inspector of a case says to Holmes "I wish I knew how to reach your results." this indicates the respect that the police officers hold for Holmes. The ways that Holmes comes to his conclusions are remarkable even today as he uses scientific facts and his own vast knowledge to determine the outcome of his cases; this involves the ego side of Holmes. His brain is very complex and he is able to sit in hours of silence with his pot of shag just to work out a case. I have seen two instances in which Holmes has stayed in hours of silence so that he can contemplate the outcome of a baffling case. In "The Man with the Twisted Lip," whilst Holmes and Watson travel to Lee in Kent, Holmes sits for the duration of the journey in complete silence, later on in the same story, we can see Holmes staying up all night to run over every single detail of the story in his head. He has an understanding with Watson and he knows not to disturb the great detective in his work or he may forget the key aspects of the case.

Holmes can be shown to have two different sides to him, this leads to the reader left to wonder what side will be portrayed in each mystery. When Watson shows the limits of Holmes, we can see that he uses his brain for only remembering important information, he has excellent amounts of knowledge but he does not waste time on such matters that don't bother his life. "Knowledge of literature, philosophy and astronomy all are none ...... Knowledge of chemistry is profound; he knows every single detail of every horror perpetrated in the century." These two resources that Holmes has shows the ego and the id that Sigmund Freud has had a book about. Holmes' ego is shown in "The adventures of the blue carbuncle" where he uses the intelluctual and reasoning side of his personality to see much more out of the simple looking felt hat than both the reader and Watson can find. The id is demonstrated in Holmes when Holmes and Watson brave themselves to face the speckled band when Dr. Roylott has killed his step-daughter, he goes into the chamber aware that he might well die that night but he attacked the snake and it ends up that Dr. Roylott himself dies from his own plan. The id side of Holmes is also shown when Watson is first introduced to Holmes, Stamford tells Watson about Holmes "beating subjects with a stick, it's taking a bizarre shape." This is talking about Holmes beating dead bodies to find out how long it takes for a dead body to bruise, this shows Holmes has his id side working with his ego side at the same time because he is getting a scientific result, and he is also violent by hitting the subjects. These two sides of Holmes keep the readers interested because with the mystery being shown over several weeks then each section can have Holmes in a different mood to the next. The id is again shower in "The blue carbuncle" near the start of the story when Watson enters the opium den, he can't recognise Holmes from his brilliant disguise as an addict. This again is the two sides working in harmony as he uses the ego side to successfully don his disguise and stay disciplined whilst incognito and from the simple way that he looks like an addict, it shows that it isn't too hard for him to play this role well. These two sides, the ego and the id were thought of in the same period as Stevenson's "Jekyll and Hyde" this also has a respectable side to

Each side of London is shown throughout the mysteries, the seedy East end is represented in "The man with the twisted lip," it's known to have an opium den where Holmes successfully dons a superb masquerade to hide his own identity. It's once again shown in the same story as the prosperous beggar Hugh Boone plies his trade in a good part of London, but it shows that even in the better regions



Download as:   txt (20.3 Kb)   pdf (203.6 Kb)   docx (16.5 Kb)  
Continue for 14 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 02). Sherlock Holmes: Explore the Reasons Behind the Enduring Popularity.. Retrieved 02, 2011, from

"Sherlock Holmes: Explore the Reasons Behind the Enduring Popularity." 02 2011. 2011. 02 2011 <>.

"Sherlock Holmes: Explore the Reasons Behind the Enduring Popularity..", 02 2011. Web. 02 2011. <>.

"Sherlock Holmes: Explore the Reasons Behind the Enduring Popularity.." 02, 2011. Accessed 02, 2011.