Adventure of the Cardboard Box

#D-14 CARD

Is the cardboard box merely a practical joke or a symbol of the misery of human despair? Analyze the themes and literary elements in Arthur Conan Doyle's story.

This is the sixteenth Sherlock Holmes short story published but the second in the collection His Law Bow published in 1917. Its order in the canon is different in British and American collections

In this series the unique features of Sherlock Holmes short stories are discussed. We do not summarize the plot on this page, assuming that each reader has already read the actual story.

Dating of the Story

Story Opening

We hope are readers are having fun diagnosing the types of story openers in the Sherlock canon. The Adventure of the Cardboard Box is a double hitter with two of the three different openers.

Watson's Dilemna

The first paragraph is classic as one of "Watson's Dilemmas."

Baker Street Scene

After learning via Watson's Dilemma that we are about to embark on a sensational case, we are treated to a second type of Sherlock Starter: a Baker Street Scene. Holmes is lounging on the sofa, reading and re-reading a letter that opens this case. But before explaining the case, a lengthy dialogue ensues as Holmes amazes Watson by reading his thoughts and agreeing that war is a terrible thing.

Two aspects of the dialogue interest us. First, the sensationalism of Holmes' mind-reading ability, which he elucidates to his friend. A similar mind-reading event occurs at the beginning of The Adventure of the Dancing Men.

Second, Holmes' opening statement is about the misery of war. Death and misery, as well as sensationalism, are themes in this particular short story. Therefore Doyle tied the pre-introductory pronouncement, the themes, and the ending together with his mind-reading scenario.

Pre-Introductory Pronouncement and FulFillment

So how does this story accomplish the the pronouncement and fulfillments in Sherlock Holmes stories?

The Pronouncement

The two pronouncements mirror the two story starters mentioned in the section above:

The Fulfillment

So what do we find at the end of the story?

Ready To Use Resources

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