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Comparative Rhetorical Analysis

When people think of Sherlock Holmes, what often comes to mind is


his emotionally detached personality and his insensitive attitude. These
characteristics are classic conventions of Sherlock, which have been present
since Doyles earlier Victorian texts to the modern day television adaptation,
Sherlock. In every short story and television episode, Holmes lacks social
skills and is unable to act properly when put into a social situation. For
example, when Watson lets Sherlock observe his watch in The Sign of Four,
Sherlock brings up Watsons history about his father and his alcoholic
brother. In response, Watson gets offended because of Sherlocks
insensitivity towards such a personal subject; however, Sherlock claims that
he views the matter as an abstract problem and had forgotten how
personal and painful it must have been for Watson (Chapter 1). This excerpt
demonstrates how Doyle presents the 19th century Sherlock as an individual
who is only capable of thinking logically and objectively in any given
circumstance. Similarly, the 21st century version of Sherlock still lacks
empathy and remains insensitive. In the episode The Great Game, Sherlock
acts callously towards Molly when he claims that her partner Jim is
homosexual. When Molly asks why he would say such a thing, Sherlock
responds by giving logical explanations based on observations he had made
about Jim, such as his styled hair and tinted eyelashes (The Great Game).
Because Sherlock cannot help but to run down the extensive evidence that
Jim prefers the company of men, he comes off as rude and does not know
how to censor his thoughts in a social situation (John Teti). It is evident that
the 21st century version of Sherlock remains similar to Dolyes 19th century
version because in both cases, he did not consider Watsons nor Mollys
feelings and allowed logic to overpower emotions. Thus, it is crucial that this
element of Sherlock is kept the same because his over analytical and
objective traits are what embody his whole character; in fact, without these
traits, Sherlock would simply be perceived as a common man, defeating the
purpose of his distinctive personality.
Another classic convention of Sherlock that is kept the same in Doyles
Victorian texts and the modern television show is his use of drugs. For
example, in The Sign of Four, Sherlock uses cocaine to keep his mind
stimulated and even claims that he craves mental exaltation and desires to
work on the hardest and most analytical problems (Chapter 1). Sherlocks
use of cocaine emphasizes his restless personality because he cannot stand
to live without having something to work on; in fact, he would rather turn to
drugs to numb and save himself from the boredom. Comparably, in the
Sherlock episode A Study in Pink, Watson walks in on Sherlock using
nicotine patches and asks what the purpose of them is; in response, Sherlock
claims that they help him to think when solving a case and aid in stimulating
his mind. The fact that Sherlock still relies on some sort of drug further
demonstrates his continuous need to keep his mind occupied and how he
believes that they satisfy his boredom. Sherlocks dependence on drugs is
kept the same in Doyles text and the television show because it emphasizes
his restless personality and his constant need to have his mind occupied
both of which are classic qualities of his character. If these traits were absent
from Sherlocks personality, there would be no consistency to his character
and the audience would not recognize him as the unique genius he has
always been known for. Additionally, the only difference between the 19th
century version of Sherlock and the 21st century version lies in the fact that
he uses cocaine in The Sign of Four, and nicotine patches in A Study in
Pink. This difference is primarily due to the fact that cocaine was easily
accessible to everyone in London since it was legal and heavily used in
medicine (Panek); however, in modern day, nicotine is the more dominant
and popular drug that people turn to. The change from cocaine to nicotine
reflects how the norm has changed from the 19th century to the 21st century
and demonstrates how the plot has been altered to make it more appealing
and relatable to the modern day audience.