First Impressions by Victor Rufer

In A Study in Scarlet, we meet Holmes and Watson for the first time. I'm going to look into the first impressions of Holmes by three people: Watson's friend Stamford, Watson, and myself. I will start with Stamford.

Stamford sees Holmes as being too scientific. I believe this means that Holmes needs proof before he accepts anything as fact. He has a passion for definite and exact knowledge. To gain this knowledge Holmes sacrifices social interaction and is seen as cold and bizarre. Such as the beating of the bodies at the medical school. This side of Holmes is seen by the casual observer and shows none of the depth of Holmes. Watson is next and we go deeper into Holmes.

Watson sees Holmes as a mystery after what Stamford tells him and what he sees when meeting Holmes. Watson goes as far as making a list of the areas of study Holmes is expert in. This shows strong showings in Chemistry, Sensational literature. A grasp of British law. A very weak showing in popular culture and common facts not related to Holmes’ interest. When asked about this Holmes said the brain has limited space and should not be filled with useless items. Holmes’ powers of observation and deduction are the most baffling. The case of the messenger that Holmes deduces is a marine from a partial tattoo seen from a second story window and across a city street is an example. It seems no matter how many times Watson sees such things he still is amazed. Holmes, in fact, adds to the air of mystery by being vague as to his line of work. Watson is aware of Holmes' mood swings, revealed by the way he plays the violin. In general Watson is confused by Holmes and at the same time in awe.

Lastly, I will give my impression. I think that the key to understanding Sherlock Holmes is to understand that Holmes lives in his own world and we are only allowed to visit. His belief that the brain has limited storage space causes him to pick and choose the facts that he retains. By doing this, he chooses to not care about everyday events and data. People see this lack of common knowledge as being cold and distant. Holmes sees others as lesser beings; he helps them not because he is civic minded but there is a puzzle to solve. He is compelled to solve the problem; the harder the problem the more alive he is. Holmes will use whatever means he needs to get the answer; when he used the puppy to prove his theory raises a question. Would he have used it if the dog had been healthy? Holmes puts up with the general public because they bring him the problems that feed this need to be mentally active. I believe that his mood swings are connected to his case load. Watson completes Holmes; Watson becomes Holmes’ common side, a guide in a society that Holmes chooses to ignore until needed.

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