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Why did Arthur Conan Doyle make Dr Watson narrate this novel instead of making Sherlock...

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marry55 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 11, 2010 at 4:28 PM via web

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Why did Arthur Conan Doyle make Dr Watson narrate this novel instead of making Sherlock Holmes do it himself?

Why did he do so?

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jenny2010 | Student | eNoter

Posted January 11, 2010 at 9:57 PM (Answer #1)

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this is a very good answer and i would only add one thing to it. Simply that there would be no element of surprise if all the stories were written by holmes himself. by narrating it, it would seem less of a mystery. if you see it through holmes's point of view then either the charecter must conceal something from the reader, which is mildly annoying whilst reading it, or the narrator must share all his thoughts in which case there would be no mystery. Most detective novels are written from a third point of view such as the agatha christies.


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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted January 11, 2010 at 6:09 PM (Answer #2)

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Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskerville is told from Dr. Watwon's point of view.  This is true for the short stories as well, though one of the Holmes stories is told in the third person; two are narrated by Holmes himself; and all the rest are narrated by John H. Watson, M.D.

The reason that Watson narrates the stories is that Watwon is a thoroughly reliable narrator: the embodiment of common sense, decency, and domesticity. He serves as a counterbalance to the other characters and to Holmes himself. He also serves as a surrogate for the reader. The two stories narrated by Holmes are not very good, since Watson’s absence is felt and Holmes often seems to be concealing something.

To examine narration a little further, Watson’s predictability, his flatness, is part of what makes him so endearing and is perhaps crucial to his effectiveness as the narrator. Holmes has a number of eccentricities and a dark side; this dark side may interfere and cloud the many small details that are uncovered in the stories, and principally, he never really surprises us.

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