Monday, 10 February 2014

The Adventure of Passages--Chapters 1-6 Sign of Four Week 1

Passages from "Sign of Four"
by Jarod

The first six chapters had many interesting passages, but the first I chose is mostly said by Holmes himself:

"'May I ask whether you have any professional inquiry on foot at present?'
'None. Hence the cocaine. I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.'"
      I chose this passage because I feel it to be interesting in that Holmes uses his lack of 'professional inquiry' to defend his use of cocaine. this passage also describes how Holmes views the world, as dreary, dismal and unprofitable, and a place where anyone with out of the ordinary powers, such as his own, have no use on earth.

The second passage I chose however, is narration:

"I stooped to the hole and recoiled in horror. Moonlight was streaming into the room, and it was bright with a vague and shifty radiance. Looking straight at me and suspended, as it were, in the air, for all beneath was in shadow, there hung a face - the very face of our companion Thaddeus. There was the same high, shining 
head, the same circular bristle of red hair, the same bloodless countenance. The features were set, however, in a horrible smile, a fixed and unnatural grin, which in that still and moonlit room was more jarring to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. So like was the face to that of our little  friend that I looked round at him to make sure that he was indeed with us. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned to us that his brother and he were twins."
      This quote I chose because of how well-written it is, Doyle fully describes the scene in ways which the audience can visualize the murder scene, as if they were peering through the keyhole themselves.

I wondered what the two of you thought of this murder scene passage.

Any Questions?



  1. I really like the first passage because it shows how descriptive Holmes can be, even if he decides to make the world look bleak and dull.
    The second passage I enjoyed because of Doyle's descriptiveness, though it always scares me when I read it--just thinking about a corpse, sitting in an old wooden chair, twisted up in some odd way, bald head tilted to the side, with a creepy smile on its face, staring at you through a small hole. I guess it just goes to show how great Doyle is at presenting the feelings he wants to convey. He really sucks the reader in and puts the reader in the place of Watson as if Holmes were the reader's friend.

  2. I've always been a little disappointed in Sherlock in the first passage- we all know how damaging drugs can be, even if his are supposedly "watered down" (which I suspect was a ruse to get Doctor Watson off his case, if you'll pardon the pun). But Sherlock's always had a knack for stringing words together and spinning them around people, in a metaphorical spiderweb of verbosity and his own brand of cleverness.
    In the second passage, I, much like Claire, am always a little horrified by the murder. The grisly nature of the man's passing paired with the dramatic circumstances make for heightened tension, even if the science of his murder is a bit lacking in realism (Doyle was not known for his expert medicine but was all the same at least moderately proficient). -Katie