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The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Foreignness and 'the Other' Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"My mother and I were left without relations in the world except for one uncle, Ralph Smith who went to Africa twenty-five years ago, and we have never had a word from him since." (Solitary Cyclist.13)

This idea of someone heading off to the Empire and disappearing is actually a pretty common trope in English literature. In terms of storytelling, the Empire provided all sorts handy tropes: exotic locales, a convenient place to ship off unwanted characters, a site of mystery, etc. In terms of reality, lots of families had relatives living far off in the Empire in this era, so the long-absent Ralph Smith isn't that unusual.

Quote #2

"Lie number one," said the old man; "I never saw either of these until two months ago, and I have never been in Africa in my life, so you can put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Busybody Holmes!"

[...]

"Well, well, two of you came over. His reverence is our own homemade article." (Solitary Cyclist.135-137)

This is one of the funnier exchanges in these story, thanks to the crotchety Mr. Williamson. Holmes also raises an interesting idea here: that criminals "coming over" versus "homemade" criminals. A person's foreign status definitely plays a role in criminal debates here.

Quote #3

It represented an alert, sharp-featured simian man, with thick eyebrows and a very peculiar projection of the lower part of the face, like the muzzle of a baboon. (Six Napoleons.47)

Watson's diction, or word choice here alludes to eugenic ideas, or race theory that often associated foreigners with monkeys and apes in derogatory ways.

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