10th July 2018

wide reading assessment 3

“What have we to do with walking corpses who can only be held in their grave by stakes driven through their hearts? it’s pure lunacy.”

The adventure of the Sussex vampire by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a short story about a man named Sherlock Holmes investigating supernatural vampires. The story starts off with Sherlock receiving a letter from Mr Ferguson confident that his friends wife was some sort of supernatural being and because of her actions he had restrained and locked her in a room. When Sherlock came to Mr Ferguson he admitted that it wasn’t his friends problem, but his own and he restrained and locked her away for his own safety. Mr Ferguson was so embarrassed about the matter he lied to Sherlock about this being his friends problem, but that was all a lie and it was actually his family that needed help.

Mrs Ferguson had two strange coincidences that made the reader and other characters in the book convinced that she was a vampire, The first time Mrs Ferguson is seen physically attacking Jack, which made us think that she was going to kill him. Then the second time Mrs Ferguson is seen was when she was kneeling on the ground sucking blood out of her baby, but she was actually sucking the poison out of Jacks arrow shot. As Jack attempted to kill him, us as a reader were convinced that she was the vampire and she was trying to suck the blood out her baby’s neck, but she wasn’t. This led to false accusations from the rest of her family where she was isolated and locked away. This was where one of the Gothic elements I noticed in this story was the use of isolation, Mrs Ferguson (the one accused of being a vampire) was locked away and restrained in her room from false accusations, making her a prisoner in her own home and refusing to see her own husband.

Sherlock Holmes was a big Gothic protagonist in this book, he has a big fascination with the past as he is a detective, and has a need of knowledge, He also has a very high social ranking as you can tell by the way the letter was addressed specifically to him, as Mr Ferguson had heard of his detective work and thought he might be able to help, this would also explain why Mr Ferguson was embarrassed to admit that his wife was the one he was concerned for, and was worried that she was a vampire. Sherlock Holmes also has a big link to the supernatural, as he has dealt with them in the past. This would explain how Sherlock Holmes had thought he had solved the case before he had even spoken to Mrs Ferguson. But Sherlock Holmes still wanted to confirm it with her to get a solid conclusion to the investigation. Sherlock concluded the investigation by writing a letter back and saying ” Sir, referring to your letter of the 19th, I beg to state that I have looked into the inquiry of your client, Mr Robert Ferguson, of Ferguson and Muirhead, tea brokers, of Mincing Lane, and that the matter has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. With thanks for your recommendation, I am, Sir, Faithfully yours, Sherlock Holmes”

In conclusion the story has many Gothic elements in it and a big Gothic protagonist that leaves the reader in suspense wondering what will happen to Mrs Ferguson, Jack and her baby. It leaves the reader on edge and makes us scared for the characters safety and leaves us constantly wondering what will happen next. “as he saw his wife rise from a kneeling position beside the cot, and saw blood upon the child’s exposed neck and upon the sheet. With a cry of horror, he turned his wife’s face to the light and saw blood all around her lips. It was she – she beyond all question – who had drunk the poor baby’s blood”

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hi Caspian,

    You need to include evidence from the text (quotes) to support your ideas.

    Also, increase your own personal response- by using these techniques, what impact/effect does the story have on you? What reactions/thoughts do you have about the text? Do you think these are intended by the author? Why/why not? Justify your position.

    Mrs. P


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