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The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes


by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Return of Sherlock Holmes Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What makes a criminal in the universe of Sherlock Holmes? Are criminals born or created by society here? Do Watson and Holmes express any definite opinions on the subject?
  2. We have thirteen stories here with multiple criminals. Do these criminals have any character traits in common? How are these similarities, or lack thereof, significant?
  3. Holmes sometimes complains about Watson's story writing. Aside from the obvious, what does Holmes's complaint reveal about his character and Watson's? How do these two men differ in how they view the world and in their personalities?
  4. We hear a lot about how Watson views Holmes, but how does Holmes view Watson? What does Holmes's dialogue, tone, and actions reveal about his opinion of Watson?
  5. Holmes seems to value his privacy but he also has a flair for the dramatic. How can we reconcile these two different aspects of his character? Is Holmes a contradiction or do these two traits makes sense in his character?
  6. Watson sometimes expresses annoyance with Holmes. How are these instances significant in the stories?
  7. Holmes and Watson interact with a number of women in these stories, both clients and suspects. What do these men's speech, thoughts, and actions reveal about their respective attitudes towards women? How is this significant for their characters? Is Holmes motivated to solve crime by self-interest or by humanitarian impulses? Do his motivations stay constant or do they change from story to story?
  8. Watson sometimes gives us very graphic descriptions of blood and murder scenes. How are these details significant to the overall tone and style of the Sherlock Holmes stories? Do these more graphic scenes stand out at all?
  9. "The Adventure of the Empty House" had a rather daunting task; it has to believably bring Holmes back to life. Are there any ways that this story differs in style, tone, plot, etc. from the other stories in this collection? How is this story significant in the collection?

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