Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Elementary Case of "A Case of Identity"

"A Case of Identity," seems a rather perverse tale upon review. Miss Sutherland, a victim of deceit by her own step-father, who engages in a romantic relationship with her using a disguise. While Holmes reasons that his motives were financial in nature, I feel that Mr. James Windinbank, being 15 years younger than his wife, had more sexual desires with Miss Sutherland, but couldn't follow through with his plans when she began asking too many questions. It seems rather strange that a young girl wouldn't recognize her own stepfather, and that she would agree to marry Hosmer Angel without knowing hardly anything about him; however, love can be a powerful force often blinding a person to observation. This is precisely why Holmes chooses not to reveal his conclusion to her.

Holme's keen sense of observation, seen in his description of Miss Sutherland's sleeve, and again in the characteristics of the type-writer, is a pervasive theme throughout this and the other the stories in the collection. However, this story differs from some of the others in its simplicity. Holmes finds the case, "elementary," and even I came to a similar conclusion after reading Miss Sutherland's description of the case and the title of the story. This story was most likely written for an experienced Sherlock Holmes audience to be able to figure out before the end, which fits in with our discussion the other day about the use of periodicals in delivering the stories to the masses.

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