Literature need to adapt to its audience if it has any ability to remain in circulation past the evade it was authored. This comes not so much from clever artifice so much as having a basic understanding of human nature and applying it to the structuring of the plot. For my own peculiarities of personality, a good read of fiction inspires a certain degree of temporal emulation of the central character wherein I find myself sympathetically performing some of the mental hijinks as set down in the published stone of paper. So as not to appear too academically longwinded, here are but a very few key observations of same.
The genius of the writing’s of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes sagas demonstrate classic devices that bring the reader in as a participant vis a vis through the observations of the Watson character. The two personalities in direct opposition, one studiously exercising intellect and the other haphazardly employing intuition. Both compliment each other along the course of the story not only in the physical solution of the crime but in providing a motivating force for each other by way of an implicit rivalry of polite disdain for each other’s viewpoints .
“His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge” – Watson
“The skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic” – Holmes.
Each of these two main characters are blessed with another foil respective to each of the them in those seeming bumblers from Scotland Yard, detectives Lestrade and Gregson. They provide an exemplary demonstration of the commonality of approach that an average men might suggest to the more refined sensibilities of the extraordinary gifted insights of the main protagonists. The thirsty reader’s involvement is nourished along the way by maxim’s uttered from time to time by the main character at key points in the narrative. They provides useful insight not only into his trade craft and personality, but as an aid to help encourage the reader’s active participation in pondering the enigmas as laid out in the scanty details afforded.
“Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains” – Holmes
By the end of the chapter one finds one’s self seduced into alternately assuming the personalities of both Holmes and Watson as one progresses through the tale. The author also occasionally side comments upon the merits of the reader’s fitness to appreciate his work.
“Where there is no imagination, their is no horror” – Holmes
And he equally challenges their anonymity by creating an atmosphere that not only threatens physical harm to the main characters but the possibility of a collective measure of scorn and derision by one’s peers in spirit of innate human competitiveness for any who would try to solve the puzzle too soon.
“It is a capitol mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence” – Holmes
“I wouldn’t have the Scotland Yarders know it for the world, I have chaffed them so much that they would never have let me hear the end of it. I can afford to laugh, because I know that I will be even with them in the long run.” – Holmes
If there is anything considered ‘bankable’ in the present era that is prone to servicing its ‘inmates’ compulsion for obsessively seeking mental escape, then it is how to capture and maintain the attention of one’s fellows with a good tale. It is equally pleasing to learn from past masters the art of telling.