The Cardboard Box describes Sherlock Holmes not only as a very good detective but also as an ear expert, which today we would not believe as very few people could be this clever or perfect, but then the Victorians liked it to be like that and they would believe it, each ear is as a rule quite distinctive, and differs from all other ones. In last years anthropological journal you will find two short monographs from my pen upon the subject. I had therefore examined the ears in the box with the eyes of an expert, and had carefully noted their anatomical peculiarities.
Imagine my surprise then, when, on looking at Miss Cushion, I perceived that her ear corresponded exactly with the female ear which I had just inspected. This illustrates Sherlock Holmes talking about his knowledge of ears, such intelligence of which is highly unlikely if he is also admitted as being a very good detective. In The Man with the Twisted Lip, Holmes has somehow managed to figure out that the dirty beggar, Boone, was in fact the well respected, upper class Neville St Clair Holmes stooped the water jug, moistened his sponge, and then rubbed it twice vigorously across and down the prisoners face.
Let me introduce you he shouted, to Mr Neville St Clair, of Lee, in the county of Kent. Somehow even though it has deluded every other detective and policemen working on this crime, Holmes had managed to figure it out when no one else could. This again is highly unbelievable that he could have figured it out as he had an insufficient amount of clues. But what is even more unbelievable is from The Speckled Band, where all the clues Holmes had was a dog lead, a bowl of milk and a whistling sound.
Somehow he managed to figure out that from this a snake was ordered by the whistling sounds and fed on the milk, and was controlled using the dog lead, and that the snake went up through a fake vent into the next the bedroom and climbed down a fake bell pull to bite the victim and then ordered back by the whistle and tempted back into a safe by the saucer of milk. It is unlikely that anyone, even Sherlock Holmes, should have been able to figure that out with the clues he had. Finally he took the bell rope in his hand and gave it a brisk tug. Why its a dummy, said he. Wont it ring?
No its not even attached to a wire. This is very interesting you can see now that it is fastened to a hook just above where the ventilator is. No one else had realised that the bell rope did not work, no one had even realised it wasnt hooked up to a wire but one quick look around the room by Holmes and was enough to see that it was not and he also noticed that there was a fake ventilator when he didnt even know where it led to. All these things show us that many people of Victorian Britain were a lot more susceptible to unbelievable things whereas today we tend to prefer things to be more realistic and more huma.
We prefer a character to be flawed, whereas Victorians preferred their characters to be perfect, e. g. Sherlock Holmes. So, in conclusion the Sherlock Holmes stories can tell us a lot about Victorian Britain. We can identify that it was a place where class was everything, and that you should stay in the class you were born into. The upper class citizens were the people that mainly read these books and they appeared to like the seedier side of things, as they thought it was a true aspect of what really happened, which they preferred not to accept, but if it was in a book it was acceptable.
The British people thought that they were better than every other ethnic group and saw it as being okay to discriminate against them and be racist whereas today we would not accept it and it is a crime. There was a lot more common crime in those times as well, which came up a lot in the stories as each was based around a crime, with even the higher class people committing crimes like going to opium dens among other things. Poverty as well was a lot more rampant in the Victorian times as no one seemed to be bothered about the poor, as it was part of their everyday life to be or to see a lot of poverty in the streets.
The stories also told us about the Victorians love of all things gothic, the architecture, dark clothes and writing; gothic writing contained a lot of murder, ghosts, evilness and darkness. They were also depicted as being a lot more gullible than we are today and would believe almost anything that they were told in stories and were not bothered if it did not seem real. We can see this from Holmes perfect character and how he did not even have one flaw. To summarise, Sir Arthur Conan Doyles stories combine many elements which give us a very good representation of Victorian life.