Explain how is Watson character revealed in the way he narrates the story and talks with other people even Sherlock explain using specific example Use specific examples from each story...

Explain how is Watson character revealed in the way he narrates the story and talks with other people even Sherlock explain using specific example

Use specific examples from each story

Five Orange Pips

The speckled band

The man with twistedlips

The blue carbuncle

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Sherlock Holmes dynamic is one of the greatest duos in literary history.  Here are some general thoughts about Watson (you're on your own for specific examples):

  • He is the perfect foil of Holmes, an ordinary man against whom Holmes' genius is illuminated.
  • He is a doctor, like his author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; as such, he is trained to look inside the body for clues.  Holmes, on the other hand, looks outside.  So, we have the internal/external duality.
  • Watson is sidekick, an assistant in times of danger, a medical consultant, and a traveling notebook (chronicler of the tales).
  • Watson is the eiron (humble character) to Holmes' alazon (self-important character).  For Holmes to narrate his own stories would be an exercise in hubris, but Watson narrates them more objectively and humbly. So says one Enotes editor:

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.

  • He is both an insider and an outsider.  He is inside the cases in terms of involvement and outside them in terms of solving them.
  • If Freudian theory, Watson is the ego, or at least Doyle's alter-ego (very similar to him), straightforward, plain-dealing.  Holmes then is a combination of superego (when he's in detective mode) and id (when he's in disguise).
  • In terms of queer theory, Watson is Holmes' flatmate and well...I won't go there.  They begin as friends and become brothers, or maybe something more.
  • In terms of reader response theory, Watson is both reader and narrator, an ironic duality.  He narrates each case in a kind of present tense, as an outsider looking in, much like the reader.  He figures out the case when we do.  In fact, he elicits Holmes to explain himself in the denouement.  So, he advocates for the reader.
  • Watson leaves subtle clues in the stories too that lead us to go back and re-read them.  In this way, Watson is advocating a kind of literary criticism--to go back and re-read literature more closely, focusing on a single strand of logic or evidence.
  • In terms of fan fiction, Doyle's loyal readers continue writing these stories after Doyle stopped writing them.  In this way, the readers play the role of Watson--they take up his narrative voice.

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