Last Updated 17 Apr 2020

Sherlock Holmes a Study in Scarlet

Category Sherlock Holmes
Essay type Research
Words 1800 (7 pages)
Views 600

Sherlock Holmes different methods of solving crimes The detective genre is prominently one of the most popular forms of literature. When the detective subject arises in conversation, one is quick to think of the original and typical detective profile, imagining a man in a plaid coat, brown hat and a large magnifying glass pressed against his face, sniffing out clues and making rather large assumptions in regard to his mystery at hand. Although the description above would describe your classic, ordinary detective, Arthur Conan Doyle shows a much different perspective of the detective genre in “A Study in Scarlet”.

Detective Sherlock Holmes does in fact have some very strong similarities to the characteristics shown in previous detective stories though shows a different personality and a stylized method to solving his mysteries. Doyle depicts Sherlock Holmes’s style of solving crimes through his methods, ability to observe, and his use of vocabulary. Sherlock Holmes is undeniably one of the most interesting detective characters. Although the story line is already made to be a complex mystery, Doyle emphasizes the story more by defining and exemplifying the character of Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock has a very distinctive personality, and Doyle does an excellent job of showing his different reactions in the various situations he is presented with. When carefully analyzing Holmes character in different situations, he shows how he uses his techniques and special abilities that enable him to solve his mysteries. Doyle makes Holmes inquiry very notable by giving him and very large and witty vocabulary. Holmes is very clever and likes to show superiority above the people around him. When he speaks he makes sure to be swift, precise, and very clear about what he is trying to relate.

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The language he uses is large and makes others around him feel beneath him. Holmes is very clear on what his observations are and makes certain the people around him know he is intelligent and correct in his interpretations of the crime scene. Sherlock Holmes shows his superiority when he is observing a scene, he states to his surrounding audience that, “by his coat-sleeve, by his boots… by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb” Holmes shows that his observations are quick, obvious and to his knowledge and flawless; any idiot could recognize these interpretations (Doyle).

After showing his skill in recognizing the apparent, he goes on to say “That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable. You know that a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all” telling his coworkers and surrounding audience that his method works, it always works and others will soon learn that he is the best in the business and will continue to be so (Doyle).

Holmes uses his large vocabulary to confuse and befuddle his peers, showing his superiority, making them feel small and incompetent. Holmes has a very high self-esteem and his intelligence is astounding and although he knows very well of what he is doing, he acts oblivious to his own actions. Holmes has a very powerful skill for observation in the account of any situation he is placed in. Doyle shows how intelligent Sherlock is when she describes his ability to observe scenes and details that a regular person would never perceive. He is able to analyze evidence and draw conclusions and inferences from them.

When Holmes first meets Watson he is very quick to analyze him. Sherlock is introduced to Watson and asks him, “How are you…You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive. ” And Watson replies to him in astonishment “How on earth did you know that? ”(Doyle). Watson is astonished at Sherlock’s quick and accurate assumption and impeccable observation. Holmes has not done any research on Watson, and even though this is the first time he has ever seen or spoken to Watson in his entire life, Holmes finds observing people almost as easy as breathing.

He doesn’t need to stop to think about it anymore, his observational abilities come naturally and without effort. His mind works in a different manner then normal detectives finding it easy to notice and observe the people who are brought in his presence. “Quite so. I have a kind of intuition that way. Now and again a case turns up which is a little more complex. Then I have to bustle about and see things with my own eyes. You see I have a lot of special knowledge which I apply to the problem, and which facilities matter wonderfully.

Those rules of deduction laid down in that article which aroused your scorn, are invaluable to me in practical work. Observation with me is second nature” (Doyle). Holmes is a consulting detective and in this statement to Watson he shows his reasons and theories of working. Sherlock has a remarkable sense of observation in any type of case he is given. Whether there is a mystery to be solved for a regular citizen or for the government and law, Holmes has the ability to observe situations and easily see what the situation has in store for him.

Holmes has a very strict method of working and because of his methods; he is successful at his occupation. The methods he uses are foreign to others in the detective business therefore his intelligence outshines his opponents. His powers of observation and his procedures are even influential to others because of how astonished peers seem to be of his abilities. Doyle gives Sherlock Holmes a sense of language that is very metaphorical.

When Sherlock is trying to make a point, explain a thought process, or try and make his coworkers and surrounding peers feel incompetent to his knowledge, he uses a wide range of metaphors and phrases. When speaking about a murder he compares the mystery to that of a “scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and [their] duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it” (Doyle). Doyle gives Sherlock this very precise yet large range of metaphorical expressions when he is talking about his work.

The way he describes the murder is very clear although almost brilliant. He exemplifies his methods of solving mysteries through a metaphor to try and explain to others how the murder mystery should go about being solved. Although there are many strings all raveled together in one thread, Sherlock plans to single handedly one by one remove those strings and narrow it down to one, to expose it, isolate it and execute it, all to move on to the next crime. Not only does Sherlock use his metaphors to explain his method of work but also to make others feel beneath him, as he always does.

Holmes knows his capabilities and is aware of his genius mind and thought processes. When talking to Watson he says "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.

Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it - there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones” (Doyle).

Holmes, in his metaphorical terms, lets Watson see into his mind and how it works compared to others while still making him feel incompetent to his coworker. In Sherlock’s mind, he explains that he only acquires the precise and important information that he will need all his life. The information that he stores in his brain is exactly where he put it, organized and easily accessed while typical human beings, “fools” he calls them, simply gather anything and everything they can find to jumble it into their small minds.

When it comes times to find the information they are seeking they have a hard time, typically because they don’t know where to find it. Holmes thinks in a different way, only gathering the information that he finds absolutely necessary and easily accessible to help him be swift, flawless, accurate, and faster than anyone else he comes in counter against. Working this way helps Holmes to solve his mysteries faster leaving his peers with astonished and dumbfounded looks on their faces. Holmes has many methods of solving crimes, although working backwards seems to be one that benefits him sufficiently.

Sherlock likes to perform his work in a different manner than most others. He seems to see what others do and perform the exact opposite. Holmes exclaims "In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practice it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically" (Doyle).

Most people would rather take the easy way out and reason forward like the majority of society. It is easier to reason forward than it is, of course, to reason backwards. If one were asked to say the months of the year backwards or the alphabet, a person would have a difficult time stating the months or letters in a timely fashion. For Holmes, performing his methods backward is something he prefers to do, knowing it is not a method that a lot of people use, he figures the technique will work and of course they do work wonderfully.

Doyle depicts Holmes style of solving crimes through his intelligent and seemingly flawless methods. Overall, Sherlock is able to solve the mysteries he is presented with simply due to his observation skills, analysis of the crime scene and his broad yet careful choice of words and phrases. Doyle makes Holmes inquiry very notable through the personality she has given him in the novel. His character is not only unique but also is plays a huge role in his remarkable ability to solve mysteries.

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Sherlock Holmes a Study in Scarlet. (2017, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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