One of the novel's themes is the vast difference in mindset and sensibility between town and country dwellers. In his natural urban environment, Sherlock Holmes is able to draw upon his remarkable capacity for rational thought in arriving at his unerringly accurate deductions. Out in rural areas, however, he finds his rational methodology challenged by the assumptions, prejudices, and superstitions tenaciously held by country folk. Somehow Holmes must remain true to his principles while all around him people are proposing all manner of superstitions and legends to account for all the grisly goings-on out on the moor.
The thematic conflict between town and country finds its clearest expression in the person of Dr. Watson, whose contempt for country folk and their superstitions is downright scathing. Dismissing the natives as little more than primitives Watson treats Devonshire as if it were a distant civilization, rather than a part of his own country.
Indeed, the general portrayal of...
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