A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which was first published in 1887. It is the first story to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes, who would later become one of the most famous and iconic literary detective characters, with long-lasting interest and appeal. The book's title derives from a speech given by Holmes to his companion Doctor Watson on the nature of his work, in which he describes the story's murder investigation as his "study in scarlet": "There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it." (From feedbooks.com)
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Which era best describes the text's historical setting?
Hold down your curser on the word "Fusiliers" and use the define feature to determine its meaning. Type it below.
The 19th century saw fighting in Afghanistan as European powers, especially Britain, fought for power and influence in the Middle East. The political effects of this fighting can still be felt today. (This annotation contains an image)
This clause suggests that enteric fever
Because there is still so much unrest in Afghanistan, writers of modern Sherlock stories are able to keep Watson's background the same-- he is still an army doctor returned from the front in Afghanistan. What does that make you feel about the state of political "progress" in the Middle East?
What is the effect of introducing Holmes this way? What does it cause you to expect from Holmes?
Hemoglobin is another word for blood.
Holmes's discovery is most comparable in ingenuity and value to which of the following innovations in forensic science?
The reader can reasonably infer that von Bischoff, Mason, Muller, Lefevre, and Samson are all
"Rows" is an old-fashioned word for quarrels or arguments.
The address 221B Baker Street is almost as iconic as Sherlock himself among today's readers. (This annotation contains an image)
All of the following details develop our idea of Holmes as being sharp and precise except
What do you think of Watson's assertion that people don't study anything thoroughly without a reason? In today's world, do we ever research things just to know them? Or do you think all knowledge must have a purpose?
In the BBC's "Sherlock," Holmes's ignorance of the Solar System is an ongoing joke for both Watson and viewers. (This annotation contains a video)
In your own words, analyze Sherlock's use of extended metaphor to describe knowledge. Is it valid?
Review Sherlock's strengths. What do you think they could add up to?
In this sentence, alluded most nearly means
A necromancer is a wizard or magician.
What does Sherlock mean when he says "I depend upon them for my bread and cheese"?
The television producers make some unique choices in their representation of Holmes. Which of the two videos do you think was more effective in portraying Holmes's powers of deduction? Why?
Watch this video from BBC's "Sherlock" to see Holmes in action. (This annotation contains a video)
This is an inside joke for fans of Victorian fiction. Holmes is disdainful of Poe's Dupin character, when in fact he is very strongly modeled on Dupin.
Based on this passage, Watson's attitude toward Holmes has gone from
Are there any facts you just know, but can't explain? Why are the things Sherlock deduces different?
Holmes's reaction to Watson's admiration suggests that he
This illustration is from the original text. (This annotation contains an image)
To which of the following archetypical homes can this Number 3, Lauriston Gardens best be compared?
Which of the following is not a reasonable inference as to Holmes's motivation for taking his time at the crime scene?
Observe the dynamic between Gregson and Holmes. Who do you think is more disrespectful to whom?
Holmes is a master of "non-sequiturs"-- statements that don't seem to follow the conversation. In Holmes's case, they usually mean he is on to something that nobody else has caught yet.
What characteristics does the description "ferret-like" bring to mind? Consider what it means anytime someone is compared to a rodent.
This idiom dates all the way to the King James Version of the Bible. It can be found in Ecclesiastes.
The atmosphere between the investigators at the crime scene can best be described as
The original illustration of this scene is below. (This annotation contains an image)
True or false: Sherlock is primarily motivated by a desire to help the police find justice.
Parthian shot is an allusion to an ancient method of firing shots while in retreat. (This annotation contains an image)
This action is most consistent with which of Sherlock's already established tendencies?
In this case, florid most likely means flushed or reddish.
Rance is motivated by
A "beat" is the area a police officer is assigned to patrol while on duty.
This sentence is an example of
Recall that Holmes believes the man whom he is seeking has "florid," or reddish, features.
Is it odd that Sherlock would drop such an exciting investigation for a concert? He seems dedicated to his science, yet he is ready to take the evening off to see a violinist. (This annotation contains an image)
Watson is violating which of the following bits of common wisdom, or idioms?
Phrenology is the 19th century study of faces and skulls as being indicative of personality and intelligence. It played heavily in literature-- especially in "The Portrait of Dorian Gray," which suggests that you can read a man's sins on his face. (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following best summarizes Holmes's plan for the ring?
Though skilled on the violin, Sherlock still occasionally "scrapes" on it. (This annotation contains a video)
This is an allusion to King Charles I, who was executed by beheading. (This annotation contains an image)
It is possible that Watson is resisting the urge to laugh at Holmes here. Throughout the Sherlock books, Doyle occasionally gives us cause to laugh at Sherlock, in spite of his seriousness and brilliance.
Sherlock is sharp with the woman because
What is the purpose of Holmes's violin?
The reader can infer that all of the items mentioned in this list are
Recall that Holmes anticipated that people would be mislead by the inscription, and would look into socialism and revolutionaries rather than the truth.
This line translates to, "A fool always find a greater fool who admires him."
Which sentence from this page best explains why the beggar children hear things that the police do not?
While Sherlock is occasionally irritating in his superiority, Gregson is even more irritating! What do you think makes Gregson more intolerable than Sherlock?
"Disgustingly free and familiar" is a euphemism suggesting that Drebber's behavior toward the maids was
In the 19th century, prospective members of the English military were expected to front many of their own costs, including equipment and uniform. As a result, military service was regarded as an occupation for the wealthy. (This annotation contains an image)
Shorthand is a learned system of writing that is faster than ordinary writing. Gregg Shorthand, published shortly after this text, would have been popular with Doyle's audience. (This annotation contains an image)
Sherlock's response to Gregson's theory can best be described as
Which of the following prompts a shift in the action of the story?
Holmes has said this twice now, and it grows to be something of a joke with the audience, poking fun at the drama. (This annotation contains an image)
This is another moment in the text where Doyle invites us to laugh at the melodrama of the crime genre. As modern readers, we can almost here the "dun dun dun" of a horror soundtrack as Holmes answers the question.
What does this detail add to our understanding of Holmes's character and motivation?
All of the following suggest that the two murders are connected except
The three men continue to rejoice in one another's shortcomings.
The presence of one safe and one lethal pill is most likely to lead to a situation like which of the following?
How is the relationship between Sherlock and Lestrade as depicted in the clip above different from the way Doyle narrates it in the text?
Watch this clue for an alternative interpretation of the dynamic between Sherlock and Lestrade. (This annotation contains a video)
All of the following support Holmes's assertion that they are dealing with a desperate man except
The American West, known variably as the Wild West, the frontier, and the Dust Bowl, has always had a reputation for being impenetrable and wild. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on this passage, the author's tone toward the western United States can best be described as
Compare and contrast the opening of this chapter with the passage linked above. Pay close attention to the characters introduced and the details of the setting.
When you finish this paragraph, read this excerpt from Stephen King's "The Gunslinger." (This annotation contains an image)
Mica splits into sheets that can be really beautiful. (This annotation contains an image)
The little girl's response to her plight can best be described as
How does Part II differ from Part I? How does this affect the reader?
This image depicts a caravan of covered wagons similar to the one described here. (This annotation contains an image)
The Mormon migration, or the Mormon Trail, is one of several famous land trails across the United States. Members of the Mormon Church made the trip between 1846 and 1868. (This annotation contains an image)
"Wolves" in this line functions as all of the following except
This description most closely parallels which of the following famous Biblical episodes?
Based on the events in the settlement, Young's leadership can best be described as
The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City remains an impressive reminder of the devotion of the people who settled there. (This annotation contains an image)
To this day, Salt Lake City has a considerable Mormon population. This image was documented in its infancy. (This annotation contains an image)
The Mormons most likely chose the bees as their emblem to represent
Handsomely rugged Western riders are a character trope that have survived in today's Westerns and cowboy dramas. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following details from this paragraph do not help to place it in a specific historical and cultural context?
Ferrier's internal conflict is most like that of
John's attitude toward his adopted faith is likely to cause problems in the near future. Why do you think he chooses to stay in the settlement?
The reference to other incidents of religious persecution throughout world history most likely serves to
You may have heard the word Gentile used to distinguish between members and nonmembers of the Jewish faith. Here, the Mormons use it to refer to non-Mormons.
In your own words, describe how Ferrier's standing in the eyes of the Mormon authorities has evolved since he joined them in the desert.
Recall that Watson describes the first murder victim's features as evil and "bloated."
We now know for sure that these two young men are the same men who were murdered in Part I. That means that this text actually begins in the middle of the plot's timeline. Watch the video below to learn about this technique. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the effect of in medias res in this text? Speculate on why Doyle chose to narrate his story this way.
The incidents with the numbers seems like it best belongs in
The early Mormons practiced polygamy, or marriage between one man and multiple women. Ferrier probably views Mormon marriage as a disgrace because he perceives it as being fundamentally unfaithful to the women in the relationship. Although the Mormon church has disavowed the practice of polygamy, a few Mormons still practice it today. (This annotation contains an image)
In this map, you can see both Salt Lake City and Carson City denoted in red. (This annotation contains an image)
As used in this sentence, sinister most likely means
It is unclear to whom or what "The Holy Four" refers. It is likely that Doyle made it up himself to add to the intrigue of the narrative.
Return to the painting above. How does Bierstadt's depiction of the American Wilderness compare to its representation in the text? What does each treatment emphasize?
Albert Bierdstadt painted iconic works depicting the American Wilderness as Doyle's characters must have experienced it. (This annotation contains an image)
The details in this paragraph add up to create a sense of
The line "his fears all changed to convictions" is interesting. It is as though "fears" are presumed to be questions, and the solution is to answer them. Do you agree that the unknown is the ultimate fear?
The use of the name "saints" can best be described as
The Endowment House was used for temple rituals in Salt Lake City, including weddings and other ceremonies. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the description in this paragraph, Jefferson Hope becomes something of a(n) ___________ in the Mormon settlement.
This is an animated rendering of Jefferson Hope. Does he look more recognizable as a hero or a villain? (This annotation contains an image)
The narrator acknowledges that this part of the text is not from Watson's journal. Who do you think narrated this portion of the history?
Which of the following ideas central to this text is highlighted by the way the revelation of the murder is structured?
Below is an original illustration of Hope giving his statement. (This annotation contains an image)
What was Sherlock's mistake in his understanding of the ring's significance?
Again, Doyle returns to events we have already scene to add more information to them. Why do you think he chooses to relate the story this way?
Which of the following best summarizes both of Hope's motivations in hunting down the two men in London?
Watch the BBC's interpretation of Hope's game of chance below. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the film representation of Hope and his "game" compare to the way they are represented in the text? What is absent from the film? Is there anything extra?
The structure of the mystery and its resolution is most analogous to
Do you agree that the stabbing was in self defense? What detracts from Hope's "self defense" claim in this case?
How does Hope differ from the cabbie portrayed in the BBC scene? Use specific evidence from each text.
What do you think of Hope's life's work? Was it well-spent or wasted?
How does Holmes's rationale for reasoning backwards relate to the structure of the text?
Even now as Sherlock explains his reasoning, some of it is difficult to swallow. Do you think any human could really make deductions this accurate from so little?
This whole text is in fact Watson's account of the events mentioned. This technique is called metafiction, where a text acknowledges its own status as a written text.
This line is an example of