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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Respect and Reputation Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"If I am Neville St. Clair, then it is obvious that no crime has been committed, and that, therefore, I am illegally detained."

"No crime, but a very great error has been committed," said Holmes. "You would have done better to have trusted your wife."

"It was not my wife, it was the children," groaned the prisoner. "God help me, I would not have them ashamed of their father. My God! What an exposure! What can I do?" (Twisted Lip.197-9).

Neville St. Clair would rather go to jail for murder than expose his kids to the humiliation of knowing their dad has been begging for a living. But if it's that bad, why did St. Clair beg in the first place? What do you think of the character development of Holmes's clients and culprits in these stories? Do you find their motivations believable? Why or why not?

Quote #2

Ryder threw himself down suddenly upon the rug and clutched at my companion's knees. "For God's sake, have mercy!" he shrieked. "Think of my father! Of my mother! It would break their hearts. I never went wrong before! I never will again. I swear it. I'll swear it on a Bible. Oh, don't bring it into court! For Christ's sake, don't!" (Carbuncle.175).

James Ryder's argument for freedom is kind of similar to Neville St. Clair's – he wants to protect his family. He doesn't want to lose his parents' respect or his reputation. But his manner – the way he begs, pleads, whines, and cries – makes him come off much worse than St. Clair ever did. So why does Holmes let him go, then? How do the representations of St. Clair and Ryder overlap? How do they differ?

Quote #3

Last week [Roylott] hurled the local blacksmith over a parapet into a stream, and it was only by paying over all the money which I could gather together that I was able to avert another public exposure. He has no friends at all save the wandering gipsies [...] He has a passion also for Indian animals, which are sent over to him by a correspondent, and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon, which wander freely over his grounds and are feared by the villagers almost as much as their master (Band.26).

Why does Helen Stoner work so hard to protect the reputation of her abusive, murdering jerk of a stepfather? What possible motivation could she have for "paying over all the money which [she] could gather" to save face? What do her actions say about the relative vulnerability of women in relation to their families in her society?

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