Post 3

A way these chapters vary from what we’ve seen so far in Sherlock Holmes stories is that they’ve put Watson on his own, and therefore having to make his own deductions and draw his own conclusions. What we’ve seen previously has been either both Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson experiencing an adventure/case together, or just Sherlock Holmes recounting to Watson a previous adventure/case he had had. By doing this, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has further separated us from what is going in Holmes’ mind: like Watson, we’re left to having to make our own deductions and then draw our own conclusions from those. Thus it helps us to better be in the mind of the narrator- Watson- and experience the ongoing events from his perspective and viewpoint. Then when Sherlock Holmes reappears, this narrative strategy remarkably adds to how Holmes’ correct deductions impact us- we were kept in the dark, and have thought up to this point that Holmes was back at 221B Baker Street, only to find out that he was, in fact, right here under everyone’s noses. I remember when I first read this story, I had absolutely no clue the mystery man was going to turn out to be Holmes. Now when I read it a second time, kenning throughout the entire part of the book up to this point that Holmes was actually there this whole time (along with all of the other spoilers information), everything makes a lot more sense, and early on I could understand what had really just gone on in each part of the story.

3 comments

  1. This is a fine general impression of how *Baskervilles* departs from the other adventures. It’s also one of the rare adventures in the gothic mode, but that seems almost as much of a red herring as Selden, the “Notting Hill Murderer,” is. As you point out, Watson solo is a specimen worthy of examination. When interacting with witnesses, he imitates his “master,” and in the “extract” from his private “diary,” he sets down ambitions to best Holmes. In both, he’s explicitly desirous of Holmes’s approval, outright requesting it in both of the “reports.” Niya wrote a detailed post about how Watson seems to regard his apprenticeship, focusing on his emotional dependency on Holmes.

  2. This is a fine general impression of how *Baskervilles* departs from the other adventures. It’s also one of the rare adventures in the gothic mode, but that seems almost as much of a red herring as Selden, the “Notting Hill Murderer,” is. As you point out, Watson solo is a specimen worthy of examination. When interacting with witnesses, he imitates his “master,” and in the “extract” from his private “diary,” he sets down ambitions to best Holmes. In both, he’s explicitly desirous of Holmes’s approval, outright requesting it in both of the “reports.” Niya wrote a detailed post about how Watson seems to regard his apprenticeship, focusing on his emotional dependency on Holmes, and it would be interesting to know what you think.

  3. PS: Examples from the text always help in clarifying and, indeed, complicating overviews — such examples are welcome in commonplace books, not least because actual Victorians would have used theirs for such a purpose.

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