What are some of the various forms of prejudice which feature in “The Adventure of the Yellow Face”?
The most obvious form of prejudice is that of racial prejudice, or racism, which Effie fears from the community, and most notably, her husband. Effie’s fear of racism is the underlying motive for the concealment of her daughter behind the yellow mask. Ironically, this fear leads Effie into a form of prejudice against her husband, assuming the worst about him despite his apparent noble character. Holmes himself exhibits prejudice of facts by jumping to conclusions based on erroneous deductions.
How can the “yellow face”, which features heavily in the story, be seen as a red herring?
The reader, like Holmes, cannot help but notice the connection between Effie’s late husbands’ “yellow fever”, and the distorted face in the window. The reader inaccurately surmises that the face in the window is Effie’s former husband, “returned from the grave” in a sense to blackmail her. The description of the face, with its unnatural hue and rigidity of features, leads one to believe it belongs to some odious creature who holds some power over Effie.
What is the significance of Holmes’ whispered comment to Watson at the end of the story?
Holmes is often depicted as the ultimate thinking machine, incapable of error. The reader may draw some small satisfaction in finding that even Holmes is capable of human mistakes, and further that he is willing to admit so. The deeper message to Holmes’ comment is that we all are capable of mistaken judgment, or prejudice, and must be willing to own up to our faults.
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