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ConsultantGrasshopper

Thesis paper-Sherlock Holmes a Vigilante?

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Hi, I'm currently in a humanities course for Sherlock Holmes. I'm working on a research paper, and need scholarly sources to back me up on the idea that Sherlock Holmes generally acts outside the law, doesn't involve them till he wants them, and will break the law if that's what it takes to make the situation right.

 

Can any of you help me with this?

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Respectfully suggest you read all four novels and 56 stories before jumping to such a conclusion. ACD Holmes only let Ryder in the Blue Carbuncle, and Captain Hawkins in The Abbey Grange get away with what he considered justifiable homicide, as well as in The Devil's Foot. He inadvertently caused the death of Dr Grimesby Roylott in The Speckled Band by beating the highly venomous snake with his stick. He lets the perpetrator get away in Charles Augustus Milverton, the high-ranking wronged lady. At all other times, the culprit was discovered and left to the mercy of Scotland Yard, except the Second Stain, where matters of state are dealt with summarily and with aplomb to avoid a war! Definitely not your Victorian Batman ( despite Ra'as al Ghul's appellation of Bruce Wayne :the detective)!

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Hi, ConsultantGrasshopper!

 

I think Inge is right that, to do a proper job on this, you probably need to read the ACD canon in full.  I'm assuming you don't have enough time to do this (given that it's April and your semester is probably almost over if you are in the U.S.), so let me make a couple of suggestions:

 

1.  Cherry pick the ACD canon.  I'm afraid I haven't memorized all the cases in all the stories, so I can't help you, but someone on this forum may be able to; you need a list of the cases and how Holmes resolved them. Barring any contribution from the forum, I will say that Wikipedia can act as an excellent summary tool if you just list the stories, read the Wiki synopsis, and then decide from there which stories you need to read in their entirety.  Don't cite the Wikipedia entry, obviously.

 

Try to make a list of examples of when Holmes let a criminal go or let someone exact their own revenge.  For example, in "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot," he allowed the murderer to go free, as he did in "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton."  In both cases, Holmes had reason to think the murderer was righting a wrong rather than actually being culpable for murder.  Read these stories, cite examples from the text, and cite these as primary sources in your paper.

 

2.  Use whatever academic search engine your university subscribes to, like ProQuest or JSTOR.  You will have an easier time getting the academic sources you need.  Let your friendly neighborhood reference librarian help.  There are tons of academic Holmesian studies publications out there with literature experts who have delved into just such questions.  

 

Good luck!

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It should only take about a long weekend to read the short stories, and in the four novelettes nobody gets away with murder!

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