In my opinion, “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” does not qualify as literature in the traditional sense. Traditional literature that you study throughout higher education has certain internal characteristic as well as multiple perceived qualities. For me, I personally do not hold a positive attitude towards these perceived qualities.
The intrinsic characteristics of literature all contribute to an added level of complexity. While not every piece of literature will contain all the characteristics, to be classified as traditional literature the work must contain at least one attribute. Perhaps the most pervasive quality is that there is a deeper underlying meaning to any surface level quality. This means that what you initially read usually does not cover the complete scope of significance. Therefore, reading literature requires reading to be slow and active. In some cases, it is necessary to reread the text multiple times to extract the underlying significance. Another intrinsic characteristic is the use of advanced literary devices. This includes the use of symbolism, motif, metaphor, allegory, juxtaposition, paradox, theme and many more. A third characteristic is the development of complex characters. High-level literature is closely associated with the use of round characters that are multifaceted and complicated.
These characteristics often make traditional literature very difficult. This level of difficulty can be quite frustrating to the point where it is not fun. Personally, I would never choose to read a piece of traditional literature during my free time for my own enjoyment.
“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” does not fit the criteria described above in many ways. The reading is surface level making it an easy read. Also, there is no use of any literary devices, further adding to that lower level impression. The predictable identities of the characters make them easy to follow and interpret. This basic writing style allows reading “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” to be enjoyable. That being said, it is not something that I would expect to read in school.
Doyle’s short story is not hindered in any sense because it is not a traditional work of literature. Literature itself is also not affected by this story. This is because “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” was never intended to be literature. The fact that it was written for a different purpose keeps this story in the leisure category rather than being a failed work of literature. The success of the Sherlock Holmes series is a testament to the lucrative nature of leisure stories and the series itself.