Understanding The Sign of Four Flashcards

Who are the main characters in The Sign of the Four?

The main characters are Sherlock Holmes, a brilliant detective, and Dr John Watson, his loyal friend and the narrator of the story.

What is the central plot of The Sign of the Four?

The plot centres on Mary Morstan, whose father vanished after a situation involving a stolen treasure in India. The story explores themes of greed, a secret pact among the “Four,” and revenge.

How does the novel reflect Victorian attitudes?

The novel reflects problematic Victorian attitudes through the portrayal of Tonga as a savage, echoing racist views common at the time. It also highlights British colonialism and the looting of Indian treasures.

What are the typical features of detective fiction found in The Sign of the Four?

Typical features include a detective protagonist (Sherlock Holmes), a central crime (stolen treasure), clues and red herrings, multiple suspects, and a resolution where the detective explains the crime.

Why did Conan Doyle choose Dr Watson as the narrator?

Watson provides a trustworthy perspective, tells the story in an exciting way, shares the reader’s confusion, and his interactions with Holmes add humour to the narrative.

What are the main settings in The Sign of the Four?

The main settings are Victorian London, where most of the investigation takes place, and India, where the backstory of the stolen treasure and the “Four” is revealed.

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