Netflix’s Enola Holmes: Uncovering the Conundrum of the Victorian era!

Sreeya Raha General Psychology Leave a Comment

“How many of us knew about Enola Holmes in the world of Sherlock Holmes’s existence until now?”

The 19th-century Victorian society did not very much favor women and viewed them only as a means of producing children and taking care of the family and keeping a successful household. Those who dare to step outside the home and work for a living, they were not welcomed and were often harassed. There were restrictions in their movement and were treated like secondary citizens. Their roles were dictated by men and often included roles like an idle woman, the working lady at a factory, a nun or a convent girl, or a prostitute. Whatever class they belonged to, the law viewed them as “second class citizens”. The females often underwent massive exhaustion and trauma. Women’s Mental health posed a question. Psychiatrists were often hired by their husbands or fathers to probe their wife’s and daughter’s “abnormal behaviors”. More than providing them a mental treatment, it was rather about exerting power or control over women’s bodies and lives under the guise of medicine.

Adhering to the social norms of being the “perfect ladylike”, many women took to the oppression . However many dared to even break the rules and hoped for a better future. The Netflix movie featuring the life of “Enola Holmes” was one such women! Enola Holmes was the youngest sister of Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes. The movie revolves around her life and how she was raised by her widow mother who chose to educate her daughter but was unkempt as opposed to the Victorian era women. She was rather taught to learn martial arts and be a good fighter, an independent women with highly detective skills and a prodigy who could knack codes. The search for her missing mother makes her use her observation and “deductive reasoning” skills and join the pieces of clues that her mother had left for her. Her arrival to the Victorian London however poses challenges and he faces threats for not being an “idle women”. She discovers that her mother was a member of a radical suffrage group who were organising and fighting for women’s rights to vote.

She uncovers many aspects of the politics of Victorian society with her great dedication and with her deductive skills. Deductive reasoning is the reasoning based on general principles to particular cases. Deductive reasoning also is known as ‘top-down’ logic, where one starts with and accepted the premise and seeks to prove another statement based on previously “known” information. In Enola Holmes, we see how she uncovers the available premises and moves towards uncovering the hidden truths in order to find her mother. The movie shows an endeavor and strives for fighting the conservative Victorian perspectives by taking a route that was less acceptable and appreciated by the society during that era.


Sreeya Raha is pursuing MS Psychology at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. Her interest lies in the area of Industrial-organisational psychology and human resources. She has written articles for newspapers and news portals and works as a community development intern at IIBP.

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