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A Comparison of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band'

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A Comparison of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' Both 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the slaughter' are murder mysteries but they are very different. 'The Speckled Band was written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1892 and 'Lamb to the Slaughter was written by Roald Dahl in 1954. The plots of the two stories are quite different. 'The Speckled Band' is a complex murder mystery. Firstly, we are presented with the facts, as Sherlock Holmes is trying to solve a murder mystery. The story is essentially plot driven, and the plot is very complex. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is not a mystery because we know who has committed the murder. There is a lot of tension in this story because the reader wonders whether the murderer will get away with it. This is a domestic drama because it all takes place within a private home in a small community. The murder comes as a surprise to everyone because the young wife is devoted to her beloved husband but she is also quite devious because she cons the policemen into eating the murder weapon. ...read more.


There is a sense of danger added because certain exotic elements such as the wild animals, add tension. The setting for 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is a more domestic set in a small family house within a close neighbourhood and a local community. The scene of a happy domestic situation is set by the author when he says 'The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two lamps alight - hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. On the sideboard behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whisky. Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos bucket. Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work.' This is an unexpected place for a murder to happen because the people are so close and the environment seems peaceful and contented. 'The Speckled Band' is set in a Victorian society, which is illustrated, by the obvious class structure and the relationship between the sexes. The women are subservient to the men and are treated either with extreme courtesy, or brutality, but never as equals. Helen Stoner has no money or independence and is entirely dependent on the men around her. ...read more.


This is the only part of the story that Dr. Watson doesn't narrate. Watson generally narrates and explains how Holmes solved the crime. In 'Lamb to the Slaughter' there is a third person narrator. The language used is much more simple than 'The Speckled Band' and is more direct and to the point which makes it easy to follow. The narrator moves straight into the story rather than spending time setting the scene, although he does give brief descriptions of the characters such as saying 'there was a slow smiling air about her, and about everything she did.' This description lends sympathy to Mary Maloney. The unexpected twists in the story shocks the reader and, because of the twists, the reader's expectations are raised and the structure is enlivened. The main differences between 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' are that one story is modern and the other is traditional. The thing both stories have in common are that they are both of the murder mystery genre. I prefer 'Lamb to the Slaughter' because it has a more complex storyline filled with twists and moments of suspense. Also it is more modern and simpler language is used so I can understand and relate to it more easily. ...read more.

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