Prose Study - 'Sherlock Holmes'

'Sherlock Holmes' by Sir Athur Conan Doyle

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Sherlock Holmes


Essay Title:


What is the function of the character of Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ?




Mention when the stories were written.

Mention that all the stories you have studied have Dr. Watson as a narrator.

Give a brief idea of some reasons why Conan Doyle has created the character of Watson and how the character adds to the success of the stories.

For example:

·        The audience could relate to him more easily than to Sherlock Holmes

·        He was a doctor and an ex soldier – both respected professions

·        He was a caring, polite and moral character

·        He was male which could have been important to nineteenth century readers

·        He was modest and loyal and didn’t try to make himself seem more important


Mention the stories you will be using for your references.




Deal with your points one by one. Allow a detailed paragraph for each one and give your opinion with evidence (quotes and details from the stories) to back it up and a full explanation.




Briefly sum up what you have said and then answer the question directly.



A suggested introduction


The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were published in ‘The Strand’ magazine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The stories were highly popular with nineteenth century readers and remain so up to the present day. It is interesting to note that, almost without exception, these stories are narrated by the character of Dr. John Watson showing that Conan Doyle found this character to be a valuable tool in constructing the stories. This discussion will attempt to analyse the reasons why the character of Watson is essential to the success of the Sherlock Holmes short stories.  


Follow the guidance notes on the left of this page to produce a well structured GCSE essay.

Remember that the example introduction is for guidance only and should not be copied.



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