The Moonstone, like many others say, is a Novel of Ideas. Like many other Wilkie’s novels, The Moonstone also instills unconventional ideas and inspirations to solve the mystery and crime cases adopted by the characters.
Throughout the story, the three Indians, or in other words, the Three Brahmins, resorted to the method of “Mesmerism” to achieve their goals and objectives. Here are the clairvoyance and procedures carried out by them:
- “Well, when the Indian said, “Hold out your hand,” the boy shrunk back, and shook his head, and said he didn’t like it…The little chap unwillingly held out his hand. Upon that, the Indian took a bottle from his bosom, and poured out of it some black stuff, like ink, into the palm of the boy’s hand. The Indian — first touching the boy’s head, and making signs over it in the air — then said, “Look.” The boy became quite stiff, and stood like a statue, looking into the ink in the hollow of his hand.”
Then the boy went to a spiritual and mind travel, and at the same time was bombarded with questions by the three Indians. However I wonder why this Hindoo practice was not carried out by dipping the “black ink” on the boy’s forehead which was seen as the “third eye” to see into the present and future.
In the case of Gabriel Betteredge, he found the safe haven and even in the case of solving the mystery on his own in opening pages randomly and read lines on Robinson Crusoe to look for some coincidences he could find to echo the present and future circumstances. It would probably be the idea of “Superstitions”.
In contrast, it was Ezra Jennings who had an unique and sudden whim that was different from other characters in solving the crime. He adopted an advanced procedure scientifically and rationally. The Scientific resolution also happened in Poor Miss Finch, only in which its function was to mystify and complicate the plot even more.
I almost could feel his passion and resolution of revealing the mystery with the implementation of putting his interests and hobbies in practice. For example, in the case of Mr. Candy’s delirium, he used the materials he remembered to have come across and put those theories into practical circumstance, “the loss of the faculty of speaking connected with the loss of thinking”. After using his own ability of short-hand writing to record Mr. Candy’s dialogues, he found that “the superior faculty of thinking going on, more or less connectedly in the patient’s mind, while the inferiority faculty of expression was in a state of almost complete incapacity and confusion”. (How fulfilling his hard work paid off!).
For the second step, he was so ready-put to apply his knowledge and findings by other scientists on the topic of Opium when solving the crime case. According to his agonizing experience of taking laudanum (a tincture of opium), the side effect could be analysed in two stages, first the stimulating influence; laudanum resulted in the spiritualized intoxication that the “morbidly sensitive nervous condition would be intensified in the brain, and impel oneself to practical action”. The progress then eventually ended in sedative influences – the taker concerned would gradually get stupefied and inert which eventually resulted in deep sleep. After the explanation, the craziest experiment took part in another climax to the readers.
Here the scientific method and this Idea seemed to outmaneuver other ideas for the sake of readers’ enjoyment and providing with a much thrilling and indulgent experience.