The Red-Headed League


The Red-Headed League is a story that takes place in Victorian England, a period that was mainly characterized by insecurity, largely due to the Industrial Revolution. Seeking for jobs and better conditions of life, thousands of poor people had been driven to the cities and when they were given an important opportunity of job they tended not to miss it.

This fact was largely explored in the story when Mr. Jabez Wilson is offered to apply for a job that paid £4 per week for a purely nominal service. But after some weeks of regular job the place closes without apparent reasons with no more than a note at the door saying “The Read-Headed League is Dissolved – October 9, 1890” and this takes Mr. Wilson to look for Sherlock Holmes to find out what had happened. As the story succeeds, Holmes begins to unravel the mystery through his famous observation techniques and lives up to his reputation as a brilliant detective.

In the last paragraph of the story, Holmes quoted from a letter from Gustave Flaubert written to George Sand. The original quote is “L’homme n’est Rien l’Oeuvre Tout” (the man is nothing, the work is everything), but Holmes mistakenly says it as “L’homme c’est rien – l’Oeuvre c’est tout.”. Despite the mistake, the original meaning of the quote was preserved to remind us of the relation between work and man in Victorian England.

The word cloud presented in this post was generated by Wordle and show us the most common words presented in The Red-Headed League story. As in most of Sherlock Holmes’ stories, the word ‘Holmes’ is the most common word presented followed by keywords for example ‘advertisement’, ‘Wilson’ and etc. I must say that at first I was surprised that ‘red-headed’ did not show up as one of the most common words. However, as I looked closely at the story I noticed that it was only mentioned in key moments and even if it shares a part of the focus of the story it is not the most important, having no need to be repeated many times.

The Red-Headed League was a good story to read because it shows us that different times and situations change the way people react either by different ideology or by necessity. Giving us different point of views of the humanity itself.

The Red-Headed League


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