The website before you is a comprehensive analysis of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Speckled Band. You will also found the site includes a semester’s worth or course work completed for English 170W: Introduction to Literary Theories taught by Professor Ferguson of CUNY Queens College. Though the site is dedicated to delineating the accomplishments of Sherlock Holmes and the demise of the cunning Dr. Grimesby Roylott, I have left my work outside of this subject on my site in an effort to effectively articulate my comprehension of the literary theories I used in my analysis of The Adventure of the Speckled Band. You will find here a short summary of The Adventure of the Speckled Band as well as the full text of the short story provided by Readbookonline.net. Additionally, I have provided a brief biography of Sherlock Holmes, his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and an entry defining the sub-genre, the locked room mystery, to which the short story belongs. Plot problems and a detailed map of the crime scene, including more detailed visual aids on the “photo gallery” page to assist readers in further understanding Holmes’ observations, and solving of the mysterious death on Stroke Moron.
Through this class, I was introduced to of a number of literary theories of critical analysis and how to deliver this vast new information through the usage of digital tools. Digital literary devices are relatively new — Google’s Ngram Viewer was generated in 2009 and allows users to visualize the rise and fall of phrases and concepts across five centuries of books (that’s five million texts!), and the Wordle, debuted about a year earlier, creates a lovely “word cloud” composed of a provided text, giving prominence to the text’s most common terms — and will certainly become increasingly more relative to literary education as academia, together with the world at large, continues to advance technologically. Therefore, these are tools I will continue to learn, manipulate and appreciate as a student and productive member of our intellectual society.
My ability to recognize (and appreciate) rhetoric has heightened dramatically over the semester. You will find a page entitled “Glossary of Terms” displaying my accumulated skills through an analysis of randomly gathered Tweets. You’d be surprised how present rhetoric is (used consciously or, as is more likely, not) in just 140-character-ed spurts. I was. An understanding of rhetorical devices thus allowed me a deeper grasp on the literary theories we later discussed in class, including New Criticism, Semiotics, Structuralism and Freud’s Psychoanalysis and its applications to literature. Each method is so widely different, often opposing even, to the methods before and after it. I learned to appreciate that before me (New Criticism) that that is not (Semiotics) and that this is but, but not obviously so (Psychoanalysis). I then used a number of these theories to develop my shared analysis of The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
As a writer, I’ll forever be a student. Sharpening never ends. Though I’ve gathered skills and used tools and theories in this class that were once widely unrecognizable to me, there is still, and always will be, much to learn. There are certain challenges I continue to face as a writer — aside from the throngs of rhetorical terms I have yet to commit to memory. Critically analyzing my own writing, for instance, remains something on the To-Do List. I find it difficult to distinguish between effective and overeager writing, and fear that I sometimes border heavily on the latter. I can separate New Criticism from Semiotics, but often fail to recognize worthwhile, helpful writing from useless. And because practice makes perfect, though I’m told no one/nothing is perfect(?), practice is what I’ll do.
Lastly, I would like to thank Professor Ferguson for a most enjoyable learning experience, one whose learned tools have already proven themselves helpful outside the realms of English 170W.
Enjoy the (metaphorical!) fruit of my labor, and leave your comments letting me know what you think. I hope you find perusing this site as useful as I did in its construction.