The Red-Headed League

This study guide will help you analyse the short story “The Red-Headed League” by Arthur Conan Doyle. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, themes and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Red-Headed League”
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Published in: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Date of Publication: 1892
Genre: Short Story

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a Scottish writer from the Victorian era who gained fame through his most famous character, the private detective Sherlock Holmes. He is one of the most famous writers of adventure and crime fiction of all time.


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The short story is structured around a mystery regarding one of the main characters, Jabez Wilson. Because he believes he was tricked into responding an ad in the newspaper, Wilson turns to the famous detective Sherlock Holmes for help. With his keen spirit of observation, Holmes solves the case in one night, much to Doctor Watson's surprise. The story follows a traditional plot structure and has an exposition, a rising action, a climax, a falling action and a resolution. “The Red-Headed League” is a name given to a fictional league for men with natural red hair, which was supposedly initiated by a rich man named Ezekiah Hopkins. As the story reveals, this league was nothing more than a charade made to trick Jabez Wilson...

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The Red-Headed League

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