ENG910 - Blog Post #6

Specifically in "The Man With the Twisted Lip," the contrast between a text and its imge become obvious, as do the fin-de-siecle ideologies that both represent. In the image of the man that is described as being a "professional begger," ideologies surrounding homelessness and disability are represented, refecting common stereotypes around both that were common in society at the time of illustrtion and publication. Beginning with depictions of homelessness, Sidney Paget, although steering away from the description in the text that paints the man as monsrous and villanous, he upholds common stereotype with his use of dark and light imagery as well as facial expression. There is darkness surrounding the homeless man who the readers do not yet know, and his facial expression makes him appear helpless to the viewers. The dark energy that seems to be surrounding him furthers the idea that this character is the villain of the tale, and makes this idea known to readers. The same is true with the depictions of disability - even though this mans disability is not the most obvious in this image, the text allows the readers to know that this man is experiencing one. The image that Paget provides for this character paints him as a nuisance to society, both with his homelessness and his disability, which furthers the common stereotype surrouding both homelessness and disability present in Victorian Britain. Altough his figure does not outwardly seem monstrous, the images elements definitely suggest this of this character.

That being said, these illustrated stories of crime and detection speak to our own cultural moment by reflecting common ideologies of society that some people do still uphold today. Many people that are not living in big cities but commute would view homeless people in the same way, as was suggested during our Zoom lecture - they would be considered a nuisance, often overlooked, and it would even be considered that these peoples' homelessness is a choice, when that is not the case. These images that we are viewing through the course, although a reflection of societal views at their time of production, still in some way reflect an idea that some people uphold in our own cultural moment. At the same time, we can use both text and image of detective and crime stories to consider the shift in common ideology that people have now adopted, and allow for our own individual readings of the text. The time of production for an image and text become crucial when considering visual cues and implications that the various texts have, as the time they are being produced in and the time we are engaging with them will change what we read into the text gradually.

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