The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

The Detective Archetype


Question of the Day: What do you expect from a detective story? What detective stories have you read? If you are familiar with the genre, what do you like about it?

What is a Detective Story?

Question of the Day: Read your assigned article, and then with a partner share what are five take-aways from the article that you read. Make a list.

Article A: Wikipedia Entry: The Golden Age of Detective Fiction

Article B: Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories

The Rules of Detective Stories

The Dancing Men by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Question of the day: How does “Dancing Men” fit the archetypal detective story? How does it deviate?

The Dancing Men Socratic Seminar

For this SS, you will need to prepare notes for all of the questions, and you will be required to read or listen to a second Sherlock Holmes story of your choosing.

1. Read or listen to another story. Other Doyle stories I recommend:

  • Think about: HOW DOES THE STORY YOU CHOSE TO READ COMPARE OR CONTRAST WITH "The Dancing Men" in its characterizations, its plot, or its language and patterns.


Other Stories

2. Characterize the relationship between Holmes and Watson. What character and personality types do they fall into? Why is Watson integral to the story-telling? What would the story read like if it were narrated by Holmes and not Watson?

3. Consider the use of cipher in the text. Did you try to decode it yourself, or did you simply read on? Should the reader try to break the code along with Sherlock as each message is revealed? Is this a mystery you could have solved, or did the author hide the clues?

4. How does the author build suspense through the story? What is his style like as a storyteller? Hilton Cubitt dies before Watson and Holmes make it to Norfolk: Does this means that Holmes fails in this mystery?

5. Use two different colors to map your two Holmes stories to the Hero's Journey cycle. How do they conform to the archetype? Are there stages missing or out of order? What surprising overlaps emerge?