The Adventure of the Yellow Face Irony

The Adventure of the Yellow Face Irony

Failures occur

Watson starts the narration with an ironic remark concerning failures of Sherlock Holmes. There have been instances when he could not solve a problem or give an explanation to it. But if Sherlock does not solve it, it stays unsolved, as “no one else succeeded, and that the tale was left forever without a conclusion”. Surely “Now and again, however, it chanced that even when he erred, the truth was still discovered” and “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” is one of these.


Doctor Watson treats the way of life of Sherlock rather ironically. As he says: “save for the occasional use of cocaine, he had no vices, and he only turned to the drug as a protest against the monotony of existence when cases were scanty and the papers uninteresting”. Use of cocaine is damaging to a person, and there should be no pretext for it.


Sherlock Holmes has mistaken in his theory concerning the case of Mr. Munro. But he tries to turn it into positive experience and have some use of it. He says to Watson: “if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.” Thus the word Norbury (which is the place where the cottage is situated) becomes a symbol of Sherlock’s being just a human, and as any other human he can be mistaken. The irony is that there are no perfect people, since even those with impressive mental powers are not perfect.

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