A Study in Scarlet

Lucy’s Wedding Ring Symbol Analysis

Lucy’s Wedding Ring Symbol Icon

Though wedding rings are normally symbols of unity, Lucy’s ring represents division and the perversion of marriage, as well as the way in which Lucy is objectified. Whereas in traditional monogamous marriages, the father peacefully “gives” the bride to the groom during the ceremony, the Mormons kill Lucy’s father John Ferrier in order to abduct her and force her into a shameful polygamous marriage with Enoch Drebber. Though the act of “giving away” one’s daughter in marriage is itself a form of objectification – in that it treats a woman as an object to be passed from father to husband – the forced marriage and the manner by which it is achieved amplifies Lucy’s objectification by treating the marriage primarily as a form of theft. Drebber and Stangerson kill John Ferrier in order to steal his “property” — both Lucy herself and Ferrier’s extensive farmlands. As a result of the marriage, Lucy is forever torn from her beloved fiancé, Jefferson Hope, and soon dies, presumably out of grief or a broken heart. For Hope, the ring not only reminds him of his lost love but of the burning obsession with revenge that fuels him for the next twenty years. It is for the sake of this revenge that Hope uses the ring to remind Drebber of his crimes during his dying breaths.

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Lucy’s Wedding Ring Symbol Timeline in A Study in Scarlet

The timeline below shows where the symbol Lucy’s Wedding Ring appears in A Study in Scarlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Lauriston Garden Mystery
Observation and Deduction Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...there is “nothing more to be learned.” As Gregson’s men carry out the body, a ring falls to the floor. Lestrade picks up the small gold ring, declaring it to be... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: What John Rance Had to Tell
Observation and Deduction Theme Icon
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...how the murderer could have forced Drebber to poison himself, where the blood and the ring came from, what the murderer wanted, and why he wrote “RACHE” on the wall. Holmes... (full context)
Observation and Deduction Theme Icon
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...would come back to the house. Holmes tells him that he came back for the ring, and that they can use the ring to draw out the murderer. He then thanks... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Our Advertisement Brings a Visitor
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...advertisement he sent out to the papers. Holmes published an announcement that a gold wedding ring had been found near a tavern by Brixton Road and that its owner should seek... (full context)
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
At around 8, the bell rings, and a servant lets in an old woman with a harsh voice. The woman, who... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5: The Avenging Angels
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...mourn Lucy, a wild-looking Jefferson Hope barges in, kisses Lucy’s forehead, and takes her wedding ring off her finger, exclaiming that she won’t be buried in it. Hope lives for months... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6: A Continuation of the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D.
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...died, according to Hope, of a broken heart. After her death, Hope took her wedding ring, vowing to himself that it would be the last thing Drebber saw and thought about.... (full context)
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...enact his revenge. As Drebber was heavily drunk, he did not realize that Hope was bringing him not to the hotel but to an empty house on Brixton Street. Once they... (full context)
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...as you are.” When Holmes asks for the identity of the accomplice who retrieved the ring, Hope amiably tells him that he doesn’t want to get his friend into trouble. Holmes,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7: The Conclusion
Observation and Deduction Theme Icon
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...had previously revealed, the writing on the wall was clearly a blind. The woman’s wedding ring convinced Holmes that the murderer was taking revenge for a private wrong over a woman.... (full context)