The Red-Headed League

Arthur Conan Doyle

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
2. Here I had heard what he had heard, I had seen what he had seen, and yet from his words it was evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened, but what was about to happen, while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque.

In many of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Watson’s reactions mirror readers’ own thoughts. Watson, for example, comments at the story’s end that he has seen the same evidence Holmes has, and yet can’t quite solve the case as quickly or thoroughly as Holmes can. Although many contemporary readers have been just as confused as Watson, they take pleasure in watching Holmes unravel the case. Doyle therefore simultaneously pulls and pushes readers, compelling them to sharpen their intellect and help solve the mystery. On the other hand, Watson’s perpetual bewilderment allows readers the pleasure of merely watching Holmes’s astonishing powers of reasoning. This dual reaction, in which readers want to watch and actually be Holmes, is a large reason why Doyle’s stories have remained so popular for so long.