Deceit in Children’s Literature

childrens-literature-1-638There was a time when Sherlock Holmes and Watson had to use firearms to solve one of their cases. Dorian and his schoolmates were very disappointed. They felt betrayed, just like that time when Tom and Jerry were no longer drawn by the same cartoonist but by another guy who used a different technique, much more modern line. Sherlock Holmes, that astute old man who could get a glimpse into someone’s life just by poking around in their apartment with his magnifying glass, did not need to wield a gun, however perfect the engineering behind its mechanism may be. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had probably sold out to capitalism.

It could not have been the same Doyle who had made Sherlock say (in a beautiful short story some years earlier) that “the best weapon a man can have is thinking.” Salgari’s dubious characters could use guns, daggers, swords, but Sherlock was above that. In school, there were kids that devoured those books. But these were people Dorian was not interested in befriending and neither would Huck. It was as if Tom Sawyer had wanted to escape the painting of the fence by taking Aunt Polly’s friends hostage. It was as if Laura Ingalls, from Little House on the Prairie, instead of waiting for Almanzo Wilder to magically appear in her life, had married the youngest of the Olsen to inherit the town’s shop.

Detective Sherlock Holmes, the cleverest man in all of London, who was not afraid of the Scotland Yard agents, who was not even afraid of entering the suburban Whitechapel swarming with vampires at night to, using a gun… Alas. Probably that is what would later cause Dorian to stop reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle altogether and start reading authors like G. K. Chesterton, E. A. Poe and Agatha Christie instead.

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