My Kind of Literature

The real mystery is whether “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” met my expectations of true literature. Is it far off the paradigm for the high school curriculum or not even close to surpassing Shakespearean literature? In my analysis of the short story of Sherlock Holmes, I will assess the story’s plot, use of literary devices, length, details, and themes. The short story’s overall complexity will be judged as well to determine its place as a literary work.

I have always been accustomed to Shakespearean literature during the course of my high school career. The classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar often appeared on the exams of my English classes. In addition to literature produced by Shakespeare, I was able to explore and analyze the work of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. Frankenstein encompassed many themes that were evident throughout the novel: revenge, family, sacrifice, exploration, etc. However, while reading “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”, I could not formulate a clear theme from the story. The presence of a possible theme was nonexistent and that lessens the story’s effect on the reader. As a reader, I couldn’t really connect to the story and compare it to real-life situations because it lacked a theme.

A major part of literature is also its reference of other literary works. During my analysis of “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”, I was also unable to find any reference to another popular novel, poem, song, or piece of work. Contrary to the short story of Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf provided a couple of references to other works that added another dimension to not only the plot of the story, but the characters involved in the different events throughout the story. One of the references used was the short tale of Cain and Abel from the bible. The tale was use to compare Grendel, one of Beowulf’s main characters, to the evil Cain from the short tale. This reference from the bible used in Beowulf gives the reader a better description and explanation of one of the characters. If the short story were able to use references from other works, it would have given the readers a different angle to view the characters.

Another feature I expected from the short story of “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” was the use of literary devices. All throughout my Advanced Placement Literature course, I read poems and literature with great use of literary devices. The devices’ usage shows the author’s creativity and even makes the story or work more interesting to read. I was unable to find many literary devices throughout “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” and it upset me. The story’s plot was bland and also the dialogue could have really benefited from the use of some of the devices. I wish they were more evident in the story.

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” did not meet my expectations of literature. I was expecting more features and some were not even used throughout the story. The lack of features makes the story less interesting and doesn’t add significance to the plot. Hopefully other short stories of Sherlock Holmes will be better.

One thought on “My Kind of Literature

  1. You bring up two valid points, but Doyle does make references to other famous works and his story has figurative language. For example, “his filaments stretching out and running through them, responsive to every little rumour or suspicion of unsolved crime” is an example of a metaphor in the short story. Also, Doyle references Edgar Allen Poe, a well-known author. Are metaphors and illusions to other books the only value offered by literature? What about broadening your vocabulary? What about forming an appreciation for reading? Doyle engaged his audiences, so from his works, you can learn to improve your own writing. I believe that you shouldn’t be “upset” about his lack of superfluous literary devices, yet enjoy reading and expand your familiarity to encompass other genres of literature.

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