“Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough.” This is the first description we get of Sherlock Holmes in the reading. With this, one might think that the first meeting of Holmes would be bizarre and uncomfortable. In fact, it’s the opposite! Watson seems pleased with Holmes and Holmes seems excited to start working with him. To me, this doesn’t fit the characteristics of Autism because with previous examples, the people suffering from autism were stuck in their ways and afraid of being social.
However, as the second chapter begins Watson mentions Holmes’s regular schedule and meals. So to start off the reading, Holmes is a mystery. I think that’s what is so great about him, he solves mysteries, but he himself is one.
Naturally I had to look up some different opinions on the matter of Holmes being on the spectrum or not. I found a good article from the New York Times where they went into a great analysis of Sherlock. Below are a few symptoms that the author of the article claimed as evidence:
When you look at Holmes from this perspective it’s hard to not think of him as Autistic, however I do not think he has it severely. Because of his social skills, sense of adventure, and ability to embrace change I can only conclude that he could have the mildest form, if at all. To me, he just seems like a quirky guy with different priorities than some.
I really liked how the narrator of this story is an observer, just like in Bartleby the Scrivener. It gave me another way of looking at someone with a different type of autism. The past two examples have been so extreme, and this one is very puzzling. Related, Watson and Holmes’ relationship reminds me a little of Raymond and Charlie’s relationship in “Rain Man.” The similarities I see are the ability to care about each other despite differences and bouncing off each other with jokes and such.
Although I didn’t really see too much Autism characteristics in Sherlock Holmes, I do agree that he could be considered on the spectrum. I think it is impossible to characterize a fictional character because we will never truly know what the author was thinking when he created the character and wrote his story. Consequently, Sherlock Holmes will always be a mystery to his readers and analyzers.