Aatmik Ahuja
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ECONOMICS HONORS SECTION A

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,
The Man with the Twisted Lip
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"The Man with the Twisted Lip", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the sixth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in December 1891. Doyle ranked "The Man with the Twisted Lip" sixteenth in a list of his nineteen favorite Sherlock Holmes stories.

The story starts when Nellie St. Clair becomes distraught over the disappearance of Neville, her respectable, middle class husband last seen in the second story window of a seedy waterfront dive and seeks out Holmes and Watsons for help. When Holmes and the police arrive, they find a filthy beggar, not St. Clair, in the building which also serves as an opium den. The missing man’s clothes are found in the room along with his son’s broken toy and bloody fingerprint on the window sill. Holmes initially suspects foul play especially after St. Clair’s coat, weighted down with copper coins, and is found on a nearby riverbank. However, after the Great detective interviews the beggar in his cell, he is able to solve the case and reunite Mrs. St. Clair with her husband.

The Detective novel is a relative young subgenre, originating in the 19th century. It describes narratives that center on criminal acts and especially on the investigation, by a detective of a serious crime. Typically, the crime is committed in a closed environment that limits the number of possible suspects. The most widely known all detective fiction, are the short stories and novels about Sherlock Holmes published in the 1890s.

The story starts when Nellie St. Clair becomes distraught over the disappearance of Neville, her respectable, middle class husband last seen in the second story window of a seedy waterfront dive and seeks out Holmes and Watsons for help. When Holmes and the police arrive, they find a filthy beggar, not St. Clair, in the building which also serves as an opium den. The missing man’s clothes are found in the room along with his son’s broken toy and bloody fingerprint on the window sill. Holmes initially suspects foul play especially after St. Clair’s coat, weighted down with copper coins, and is found on a nearby riverbank. However, after the Great detective interviews the beggar in his cell, he is able to solve the case and reunite Mrs. St. Clair with her husband. The Man with the Twisted Lip focuses on solving a central problem, and that means there's suspense, there's a dénouement which also makes it a Mystery novel.

Dr. Watson is a character in the story who is Sherlock Holmes' friend and assistant. He, consequently, has only a limited view of the action and particularly of the other character’s thoughts as he often quotes them in their own narration in the story.
Watson is seen to speak to the addressee, and provide explanations of and comments on the action and the characters, which makes him a Covert narrator.
Watson sees the action through the eyes of the other characters in the story and then narrates it providing information to the readers based on his personal amount of knowledge. In other words, he is a narrator with Internal Focalization assuming a character’s point of view ant therefore has the same or limited knowledge as the character. Watson is certainly the Central narrator of the Holmes stories, which means he has total control over the arrangement of who says what and when. But Holmes tales are heavy on dialogue and, even more importantly, they contain
lengthy testimony from other characters, often inflected with the accent of those characters.
Watson provides a frame for the story, an introductory series of paragraph sketching the scene of the investigation, by informing through his knowledge as he starts with a tragic tale of a guy named Isa Whitney, an opium addict who first tried the drug because he read Thomas de Quincey (author of Confessions of an Opium Reader). His own style is often heavy on the Imagery when he gets going but he never talks for very long at one time. Watson almost immediately hands over the actual telling of the story to Whitney, Isa's wife; Most of the narration doesn't belong to Watson at all. Watson hates filling in background information.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Man with the Twisted Lip relies so heavily on first-hand testimony and distinctive, individual style might be because of the realism in both Holmes's "Character Analysis" and in "Setting." Watson is an amazingly Laidback narrator: he brings together all the bits of information needed to known, but he otherwise appears pretty passive about letting the story unfold in many different voices until Holmes is ready to arrive at resolution.

The falling action of the story is when St Clair confesses that he worked as a beggar and made more money than he ever did as a reporter, and that when his' wife saw him he got nervous and put on the Boone suit. That started the whole mess. The resolution was when St Clair agreed to retire Boone and go home, and the cops agreed they wouldn't make this case public.
The climax of the story is when Holmes finds out what's been missing all along. That Hugh Boone is Neville St Clair, just in disguise with a wig, his filth, different clothes and a fake scar across his face.
Irony was also found when the letter was sent to the wife after St Clair died. Another form of irony in the story is when you find out Hugh Boone never really killed St Clair, but that he is St Clair!

This particular story narrated by Watson, describes London being enriched by its exploitation of other nations, it's also getting drained by poverty and begging which is depicted through the uplifted influence of the opium dens of "The Man with the Twisted Lip".
It depicts that begging being a “profession” that can be highly worthy for a person who is thus willing to shift from his job as a reporter which is assumed to be more hierarchical elite than being a beggar and earn money from the sympathy of the passer-by people.
This story according to me questions the fundamental vice that people who are not able to earn enough money for a decent livelihood should resort to practices such as begging and involve in the occasional drugs such as opium in this case.
Should the able beggars on the street start working for their meals and live on their own hard work, or should they plead to the mercy of the people who are supposed to shower them with monetary aid to support their lives?

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