A Tribute To Arthur Conan Doyle
There comes a time, a certain point in person’s life, when they become a reader of something so powerful, so electrifying, and so unmistakably filled with greatness that he or she witnesses a moment of literary genius that that can rarely be described to the fullest. Those who have been fortunate enough to experience the masterpieces created by Arthur Conan Doyle, have experienced innumerable moments such as these; moments in which their minds are mesmerized and awestruck as they read
Doyle’s words that tend to leap off the page in tantalizing excitement. The responsibility that lands on the shoulders of a great author is one of challenge, complexity, mysteriousness, and technique. Arthur Conan Doyle has taken on this task as a great author and has managed to master it with such brilliance that his characters have left a mark on the minds and hearts of readers throughout the world. Although
proper justice can never quite be given to Doyle’s astounding work through the simplistic observations of an evaluation essay, the reasons for the greatness possessed in his writing can be discovered and revealed through the quality he places in his characters, his word choice and imagery, and his magnificent capabilities of detective writing.
Perhaps more famous than Doyle himself, are the characters that he created in order to provide the life and imagination that his mysteries always possess. From the moment Doyle revealed his famous detective Sherlock Holmes in 1887, the mystery author hooked readers with intrigue and fascination. Doyle managed to create a tall, lean, and genius of a detective that was modeled after a surgeon whom Doyle had worked for; a surgeon of whom was quick to make accurate detective-like assumptions. It was from this man that Holmes’ brilliant detective skills were inspired. Doyle shows
his detective’s brilliance in nearly every story by giving Holmes the ability to make detailed observations of all people. “You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles,” Holmes often said, “there is nothing like first-hand evidence”(Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 51, 17). In addition to the inception of Sherlock Holmes, Doyle’s creation of Doctor Watson formed one of the most well-known and loved fictional friendships in literary history. The dynamic of Holmes’ and Watson’s partner-in-crime relationship creates a heartfelt connection to all who read it and
also provides an interesting narration, while highlighting the genius qualities of Holmes. Nearly all of Doyle’s mysteries are narrated by Watson, which Doyle uses as an opportunity to highlight the skills of his detective compared to those of the average man. Since Holmes is a complete mastermind at logical deduction and reasoning, Watson is a key to preventing the reader from becoming lost in the complexity of the facts. While Watson is constantly beside his detective companion, he comprehends
very little in the crime solving process. “You see, but you do not observe,” Holmes often tells Watson, “the distinction is clear”(Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 6). An explanation is always given by Holmes after the detective has solved his crime and the enlightened Watson remarks that, “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process”(Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 6). In addition to helping Watson understand, Holmes adds that,
“nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person”(Doyle Silver Blaze 1). Doyle’s two constant characters create a literary foil by each one completing and complimenting the other in a way that highlights the complex and bizarre mind of Holmes and the wonderful normality of Watson. “Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.”
“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius,” is what Doyle once said(Doyle Valley of Fear 10). It is the duty of an author to construct a well-written plot that can hold a reader’s interest. A great author holds the much greater responsibility of creating a literary masterpiece that has the capacity to reach the emotional connection of every being who reads it. A great author must use words powerful enough to animate the exuberance of his or her characters, yet also place words so delicately that readers must cling to them so that they will not slip away. As a
great author Doyle portrays his stories with such rousing words and stunning imagery that the precise emotion he wishes to instill in his readers ignites. He can inflict instant terror into them with a simple, yet detailed description from Watson such as, “how shall I ever forget that dreadful vigil? I could not hear a sound, not even the drawing of a breath, and yet I knew that my companion sat open-eyed, within a few feet of me, in the same state of nervous tension in which I was myself. The shutters cut off
the least ray of light, and we waited in absolute darkness”(Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes104). Yet Doyle can also create an aura of humor or comic relief by describing the interactions between Holmes and Watson or the bizarre character qualities that each are blessed with. In addition to choosing words in order to generate a particular emotion, Doyle’s tone gives off an inexpressible vibe of intelligence mixed with a rather hidden form of overall happiness. This is the specific quality in
Doyle’s mysteries that retains enjoyment from the reader and allows him or her to experience the aspects of Doyle’s personality other than his talent of detective writing.
However, Doyle’s most impressive and astounding quality is his magnificent capability to imagine such a complex cases for his stories, while maintaining a fictional detective brilliant enough to solve them. The typical plot in his Sherlock Holmes mysteries involves a client coming to Holmes searching for someone who can solve a crime, mystery, or other misfortune that has occurred in his or her life. By the time the client has finished presenting the information to Holmes, the detective usually
has formed assumptions in his head by observations extracted from the data. He and Watson the typically travel to the site of the case, searching for “the obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes”(Doyle, The Hound of Baskervilles 42). This investigation is more often than not followed by a chase, stakeout, or a number of other dangerous risks that must be taken in order to nab the culprit that Holmes has labeled in his mind. Through all of this, the readers along with Watson are
entertained by the action and suspense of the story, yet left slightly in the dark as to the significance of clues until the end. This is when the true magnificence of Holmes’ brain is revealed; when Doyle’s crimes and cases of utmost complexity are explained thoroughly and easily by Holmes’ as if he had taken less than a second to decipher his thoughts. Holmes’ explanations are perfected down to a science and as he says, “eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth”(Doyle The Sign of Four 5). The detective states what he perceives as the obvious with such flair and aptitude that the ingenuity of Doyle’s writing is glorified through it. This is truly the key to the greatness of
Questions arise from those who may be skeptical regarding Doyle’s writing. Many say that the “super-smarts” of Holmes and the way he solves crimes with such ease is unrealistic, leading to predictability. Other critics have said that if Doyle truly enjoys portraying his detective as a genius, as a mystery author he must challenge his detective or make him less confident in his abilities. While it is true that Holmes is a detective prodigy and has magnificent capabilities, these character qualities only reflect those of his creator. A detective is only as good as the author who brought him to life. There is
not a need to hide the talents of Holmes because these are the talents of the author. In addition, predictability and cockiness is an issue dependent upon the reader. Readers who find themselves able to predict the outcome of the mystery and that are able to rattle off an explanation similar to the ones Holmes gives to Watson are brilliant minded individuals who have picked up on the marvelous skill of logical deduction used by Holmes. In addition to this, Holmes does mention awareness of weakness and tells Watson, “if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper `Norbury` in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you”(Doyle The Yellow Face 9). Finally, readers who find that Holmes is not challenged enough should look into reading The Five Orange Pips, The Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventure of the Dancing Men, and The Yellow Face, in which Holmes is defeated by his opponent and fails to solve his crime.
The only proper justice that can ever be given to Doyle’s astounding work is the privilege of reading it. However, through the simplistic observations of an evaluation essay, the reasons for the greatness possessed in his writing can be discovered and revealed through the quality he places in his characters, his word choice and imagery, and his magnificent capabilities of detective writing. The talent and brilliance of Doyle shines through in his stories through Holmes and is connected to the reader through Watson. Doyle’s portrayal of emotion, tone, and depth given to the reader through his
choice in words and the pristine imagery he uses in order to paint the picture he wishes to. Finally, the magnificence of Doyle is revealed and poured out through the detective work and explanations of Holmes, which is the greatest tribute to the literary genius who created him. “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius”( Doyle 11).