A Case of identity Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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Category: Literature

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Through a comparison of A Case of identity and The Stolen Cigar case discuss how successful Bret Harte is in parodying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are two forms of detective story: there is the who dunnit idea in which gentlemen detectives are called upon in all sorts of impossible situations, but always manage to solve the crime. In this type, the reader has a good idea of who committed the crime; however, the characters in the story dont. The other type of story is a mystery, in which neither reader nor investigators know who is responsible for the crime; together with the characters, the reader too is invited to figure out the sequence of events.

In the Sherlock Holmes stories the focus is on the character of the detective himself (Sherlock Holmes) and follows the story of him solving a mystery. Sherlock Holmes (S.H) was a legendary figure as he was the very first fictional detective; his stories were written in the Victorian times by the writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The S.H stories have many common features. For example S.H is seen to be very well organised and by the end, his efforts have concluded in solving the mystery/crime. This has made it easier for Bret Harte to parody Conan Doyles style; he uses many similar features like the same old fashioned language and also in having Sherlock Holmes or Hemlock Jones (as he is called in the parody), portrayed as a very precise, eccentric detective.

In the original story, we are told of how Miss Mary Sunderland goes to S.H to find Mr Hosmer Angel-her missing bridegroom-who disappeared on the day of their wedding. S.H manages to find this man, so uncovering the fact that it is her step-father in disguise! In the parody; The Stolen Cigar Case, Hemlock Jones (H.J) accuses Watson of stealing his cigar case and constructs an elaborate/exaggerated story to prove his point, only to find he had misplaced it!

In A Case of Identity Watson is the narrator, who, as he is some what na¯¿½ve, has to have things explained to him; this assists the reader. He tries to work out S.Hs process of deduction, often unsuccessfully, so S.H explains in a straightforward manner through Watson to the reader. He takes the role of the pupil and is a necessary link between Sherlock and the reader. As we look at things from Watsons point of view we are able to see how S.H unravels the cases and solves the crimes. S.H is admired greatly by Watson; likewise readers also come to admire him as an exponent of ratiocination.

Throughout the story, the impression is given that S.Hs previous clients have all been people high up in society as he had a little souvenir from the king of Bohemia in return for Sherlock helping him with a case. He has many valuable belongings, many of which have been gifts from wealthy clients of his such as his snuff-box of gold. He also refers to similar cases to the ones he is working on You will find parallel cases, if you consult my index, in Andover in 77. This also shows that he is an experienced detective with a powerful memory and someone in whom one can have faith.

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