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A comparison of The Speckled band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Lamb to the slaughter by Roal Dahl

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Introduction

A comparison of "The Speckled band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & "Lamb to the slaughter" by Roal Dahl Detective mystery fiction started in England in the 1790s. Then later in the 1850s to 1860s authors started writing melodramatic thrillers known as sensation novels perhaps one of the best known of the melodramatic thrillers is the stories written by Wilkie Collins who wrote "The woman in white". By the late 1800s Conan Doyle wrote stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, this type of story was called mystery fiction, and is undoubtedly the most influential mystery fiction novel of the 1970s. These mystery fiction novels were based on Sherlock Holmes who is a detective in murder cases and has a side kick called Watson who very much admires Sherlock Holmes as being very clever in solving crimes by gathering the evidence. In the book he narrates the story and makes clear He's admiration for Sherlock Holmes, this is what influenced other writers in the 20th century to writing mystery fiction stories based on the structure of the Sherlock Holmes. And you can still see the work of Conan Doyle being used as structure for modern day stories and film series, such as the well known "CSI crime" which is set in America and involves a group of homicide detectives who have an important role in using state of the art forensic techniques in order to work out the murders and accomplices, with a twist to the story to make it more interesting. However in replacement to where Conan Doyle uses cunning detective work the makers of CSI use the forensic science more as the way of catching the murderess. "Law and Order" uses the same concept as "CSI crime" but is set in a different part of America. "The Bill" is a popular TV series about a police force that use cunning police work by working together to solve all crimes. ...read more.

Middle

However in "Lamb to the slaughter" Sergeant Jack Noonan's and O'Malley are very unconventional detectives as they prove to be very incompetent and unprofessional. At the beginning of the story however the two detectives act conventional but further in to the story; Roal Dahl's reveals his intentions to illustrate the two detectives as vain. Roal Dahl achieves this by revealing their idiocy when in the story the narrator explains that one of the detectives asks Mary Maloney "Do you know of anything in the house that could've been used as a weapon" this shows the detectives unprofessional behaviour to trust Mary Maloney in her position in a murder case, and for the detectives to trust someone instead of suspecting every one is idiocy in itself. Later in the story Mary Maloney convinces Sergeant Jack Noonan's to have a drink and he replies "I might take a few drops to keep me going", this shows the reader that Jack Noonan's is very unprofessional and lacks in detective knowledge. Towards the end the story takes an ironical twist when Mary Maloney asks the detectives Sergeant Jack Noonan's, O'Malley and their fellow police officers to eat the leg of lamb, which she had cooked in the oven to get rid of the evidence, the narrator explains that "There was a great deal of hesitating...........but in the end they were persuaded to go in to the kitchen to help themselves". Here Roal Dahl clearly demonstrated the detective's futility as a result of the detectives abandon a serious murder investigation to eat a leg of lamb. Roal Dahl again illustrates the ironical situation when the detectives and their fellow officers have a conversation about the murder weapon whilst they stuffed themselves with meat, "They're not going to be carrying a thing like that around with them longer then they need it.....Personally, I think its right here on the premises....probably right under our very noses" here Roal Dahl has clearly exposed the ironical situation which the two detectives have caused due to their idiocy and lack of detective techniques. ...read more.

Conclusion

These two authors make their stories different by each using different characteristics of their murders and detectives, however the structures of both stories are the same as both authors establish their mortality and they both want their characters to get away with it. In "The speckled band" Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses stereotyping to portray his characters; this is a technique which Roal Dahl doesn't use. Doyle's use of stereotyping proves to play be a very important role in Doyle's portrayal of characteristics of the characters in "The speckled band" as it is a good tool to use when describing to the reader characteristics of a person. This use of stereotyping is clearly visible in Doyle's story "The speckled band". All of Doyle's characters are stereotyped such as DR Grimsby Roylott, who is described by Watson as having "Bile-shot eyes" and "A large face. Seared with a thousand wrinkles" These descriptions are related to an average villain who has distinguishing looks and features, which people would consider are common for a villain, such as when Watson mentions when describing Rowlett's appearance "And his high, Thin, fleshless nose." This is an aspect of a character which people would automatically presume is a villain. Roal Dahl's text lacks stereotyping of the characters which results in less descriptive text from which the reader can work out the characters characteristics which is something Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has achieved. In conclusion both stories are unconventional as in the "The speckled band" the story seems conventional as the murderer, motive, settings and atmosphere are conventional but at the end Sherlock Holmes murders DR Grimsby Roylott accidentally which is unconventional for a mystery fiction story, especially because Sherlock Holmes doesn't feel guilty after the incident. The story "Lamb to the slaughter" is also an unconventional story as the murderer Mary Maloney is unconventional and so is the victim who is a detective. The case goes unsolved as the senseless detectives eat the evidence which is ironical and unconventional. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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