The Adventure of the Cardboard Box Quotes

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Adventure of the Cardboard Box' is one of Doyle's most controversial stories. In this lesson, we will take a look at some of the most revealing quotes from the tale and explore what they reveal to the reader.

Why Look at Quotes?

Most people have heard of Sherlock Holmes, but fewer people take the time to explore the details of his character. By examining a few important quotes from 'The Adventure of the Cardboard Box,' we can get an inside glimpse into his character as well as some of the comments being made about society and relationships. Let's take a look.

Stretching the Filaments

One of the first insightful quotes from this story comes when Watson comments about an important part of Holmes's personality. Watson says ''He loved to lie in the very center of five millions of people, with his filaments stretching out and running through them, responsive to every little rumour or suspicion of unsolved crime.'' To put it another way, Holmes's main interest in life is exploring mystery. This quote has the added benefit of being visually descriptive. The image of Holmes's ''filaments stretching out and running through'' five million people is memorable and vibrant.

The Mind Reader

Another revealing quote comes in an exchange between Watson and Holmes. In this instance, Holmes is able to deduce exactly what Watson is thinking by observing his facial expressions and what he looks at. Watson, stunned by Holmes's ability, asks ''Do you mean to say that you read my train of thoughts from my features?'' Holmes responds by detailing how he figured out Watson's thoughts. This quote shows just how skilled Holmes is at observing and deducing. He is so skilled in both arenas that it seems as though he can read minds.

Lestrade and Holmes's Spat

If you have read any of the other Sherlock Holmes stories, you may have noticed that Holmes and Inspector Lestrade have an almost sibling style rivalry. Lestrade usually seems to think he has it all figured out, until Holmes comes along and blows his theories to smithereens. This causes some tension between the two. In this story, Holmes tells Lestrade that his theory is correct this time and that he can book the suspect and leave him out of it. Why is that? Because, explains Holmes, he wants to ''be only associated with those crimes which present some difficulty in their solution.'' In other words, this case was so easy to solve, that Holmes doesn't want his name associated with it. This bit of arrogance is important in showing that Holmes, while intelligent and talented, is not at all humble. He is not a perfect, flawless character.

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