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Last Updated on September 11, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 577

I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. 

A Study in Scarlet is the first Sherlock Holmes story and introduces the characters of Holmes and his loyal partner, Dr. John Watson, as they meet, become flatmates, and solve their first case together. Holmes has a unique way of approaching deduction and extensive knowledge that fascinates Watson; however, as Holmes suggests in the above quote, his knowledge, though extensive, tends to include only what he views as “useful.” 

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From a drop of water . . . a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it.

Upon reading this statement in a magazine article about logical deduction that Holmes wrote, Watson is doubtful that tiny, nearly imperceptible details can lead to accurate conclusions. However, as he observes Holmes’s skills of deduction at work, Watson realizes the validity of this assertion. It is Holmes’s ability to draw conclusions from small details that makes him the great consulting detective that he is. 

There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.

The detective duo sets out to solve the case of Enoch Drebber’s murder, and Watson decides to take notes during the investigation and manages to create an interesting story. Holmes describes the case as a “study in scarlet,” and Watson decides to make this the title of his story. After this, Watson becomes Holmes’s unofficial chronicler. 

Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire. 

As Watson gets to know Holmes and experiences his powers of deduction...

(The entire section contains 577 words.)

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Critical Essays