A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After a long journey facing “the savage man, and the savage beast, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and disease,” the Mormons reach Utah and are told by their leader that it is the promised land. Brigham Young is an effective administrator and oversees the transformation of the land into a settlement and farmland. In the center of the city, the Mormons build a large temple.
Doyle’s reference to “the savage man” is likely a reference to Native Americans. That they are lumped together with the likes of wild animals and disease indicates that the natives are viewed as a hostile environmental factor, which both dehumanizes the natives and suggests that they must be treated, however violently, in the same manner as “savage beasts”—thus demonstrating that even before the Mormons have reached their promised land, the seeds of violence have already been sown into their community.
Themes
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
John Ferrier and Lucy accompanied the Mormons all the way to Utah. Lucy had stayed in Elder Stangerson’s wagon with his three wives and 12-year-old son, and Ferrier had proven himself as a hunter and guide during their journey. When the Mormons arrived in Utah, Ferrier was given a large, fertile tract of land, though not as large as those of Young and the four elders: Elder Stangerson, Elder Kemball, Elder Johnston, and Elder Drebber. A hardworking man, Ferrier built himself a large log house and improved his lands so that he became one of the wealthiest and best known men in the settlement. He never married, causing some to question his commitment to Mormonism, but in all other ways he followed their religion.
Though Doyle’s first reference to Mormon polygamy here is made in passing, his inclusion of Ferrier’s decision not to marry into the Mormon community signals Ferrier’s tacit disapproval of polygamy. After the Mormons’ settlement in Utah, their division of land shows that the community is controlled by an oligarchy. Though Ferrier himself receives land and gains wealth because of his own merits and hard work—resonating with the American meritocratic vision of the self-made man—Young and the Elders’ claim over the best and largest pieces of land is a result of their status and power, rather than their ability.
Themes
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Lucy thrived on John Ferrier’s farm and grew into a tall, and strong young woman whose beauty began to attract the attention of men. One day in June, Lucy is riding her horse toward the city on an errand for her father, when she finds her path blocked by a drove of cattle. After trying to push her horse through, she is surrounded by the cattle, one of whom pushes its horn into her horse, causing it to panic. Lucy, fearing she will be thrown down and trampled to death, struggles to hold on until a stranger grabs hold of her horse and guides it away from the cattle.
In some ways, Lucy defies gender stereotypes, as she is a strong, hardy young woman accustomed to physically difficult tasks such as horse wrangling. However, in other respects, Doyle’s presentation of Lucy strengthens gender stereotypes. As the main female character in the novel, she is described as beautiful, making her all the more sympathetic when she comes to a tragic end, and yet reinforcing the idea that a woman’s physical beauty is necessary to her likeability. Furthermore, when she is drawn into romance for the first time, she is portrayed as a damsel in distress in need of rescue from her suitor, thus implying the dependence of women upon men.
Themes
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
The stranger, a tall, young hunter, recognizes her as John Ferrier’s daughter and introduces himself as Jefferson Hope, the son of one of Ferrier’s friends in St. Louis. After Lucy invites him to visit the Ferriers later on, they part ways, with Hope now overcome by “wild, fierce passion.” As a man “of strong will and imperious temper…accustomed to succeed in all that he undertook,” he vows to obtain Lucy’s love. Thereafter Hope visits the Ferriers often, telling them about his time in the outside world. Eager for adventure, Hope had taken on many different jobs, as a scout, a trapper, a silver prospector, and a ranchman. Lucy soon falls in love with Hope and, with Ferrier’s permission, they plan to get married in two months after Hope returns from his work in the Nevada silver mines.
For Hope, Lucy is his love at first sight. Ironically, the same single-minded tenacity that secures Hope’s love is the same tragic flaw that leads him to revenge and to his own death. Hope’s adventurous disposition made him highly adaptable, allowing him to take on many different jobs, a skill which he later utilizes in his pursuit of Drebber and Stangerson. The necessity of Ferrier’s approval of the marriage is an example of the patriarchal values that the characters hold.
Themes
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
Get the entire A Study in Scarlet LitChart as a printable PDF.
A study in scarlet.pdf.medium