• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A comparison of two short stories from the murder mystery genre

Extracts from this document...


A comparison of two short stories from the murder mystery genre "The Speckled Band" was written in 1892 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "Lamb To The Slaughter" was written in 1954 by Roald Dahl A murder mystery is a narrative about a murder and how the murderer is discovered. The following things usually happen or are present in a murder mystery: murder, mystery, investigation, red herrings, tension, detective (seeks a solution and unravels the mystery), resolution and justice. Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are detective murder mysteries. They share some resemblance to the genre but have many differences. In my essay, I will talk about these and say how they affect the story. By reading both stories it is easy to say that the language styles have changed over the eras. 'The Speckled Band' was written in the Victorian period. It uses complex words such as 'defray' and 'dog-cart', which you would not use in the twenty-first century. Some of the sentences are very verbose and stretch from three to four lines long, which is unusual in modern stories. There are phrases like 'said he' which nowadays would be 'he said'. Another example is 'But have you told me all?' A modern way to express this is 'But have you told me everything?' He also uses archaic language as the setting develops. In contrast the language Roald Dahl uses is more modern. ...read more.


One point in the story when the reader is impressed with Roylott is when it says 'Professional skill and force of character'. Then he has a character flaw. Apart from this, all the points describing Roylotts characteristics show how obnoxious he is. He is a violent man who indulges in 'ferocious quarrels'. 'He beat his native butler to death' and was very lucky to escape a capital sentence. His success came from himself. This was very attractive to Victorians at that time. By creating this image in the reader's mind Doyle has ensured a hatred of the character and has made sure that the reader thinks that Roylott will be the murderer, as he is the stereotype of a Victorian villain. When Dr. Roylott visits Sherlock Holmes we get to see his physical description. He makes a powerful entrance making the reader startled and scared of what he is going to do next. 'A huge man framed himself the aperture'; 'high thin fleshless nose' and 'resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey' builds up tension and shows how Doyle tries to create an image of an evil man. In 'The Lamb to the Slaughter' Dahl creates a different kind of evil. He builds up her character to be warm and genuine. Using quotations like she 'was waiting for her husband to come home from work', 'she took his coat and hung it in the closet' and 'placid look' creates an innocent compassionate wife. ...read more.


I also think that the different eras and the expectations of the different audiences played an important part when the author decided to write the endings. At the time of writing 'The Speckled Band' had an ending which pleased the audience. In 'Lamb to the Slaughter' Dahl does not give enough description. For example 'Simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high'. However this works in his favour because it helps to strengthen the shock in the readers mind. I had half expected this ending because it was unrealistic. I would not classify 'Lamb to the Slaughter' as a mystery because usually the detective catches the murderer. The title of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is also linked to the murder and the victims. It is both a pun and a warning. Lamb means both the piece of meat used for slaughter and an innocent victim. Although both stories have many differences, one thing I managed to find out was that they both use irony to make their final point. In 'The Speckled Band' Dr. Roylott is killed by his own weapon. Similarly in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' the detectives eat the evidence. All these differences are due to the fact that the stories were written one hundred years apart by different authors with different styles and had different expectations. If Holmes had been the detective investigating Mr. Maloney's death, would he have consumed the evidence or would he have drunk the whisky...? Niroshun Nadesalingam 1 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Roald Dahl section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Roald Dahl essays

  1. Both Lamb to the slaughter and the Speckled Band share some characteristics of murder ...

    I do feel that there is a similarity regarding the state of mind of the murderers. In Mrs Maloney's case this does depend upon the reader's own personal views. She can be perceived as insane or cold and calculating or emotionally out of control.

  2. Compare and Contrast the two short stories Lamb to the slaughter(1954) and The Adventure ...

    the roles would have been reversed once reading the first few pages. The detectives in the story are portrayed as acting as typical modern police detectives, they eat the evidence! The detectives appear so stupid and useless compared to the marvellous and calculating Sherlock Holmes.

  1. Compare and contrast the two short stories

    The way Dahl develops Mary's character makes her very interesting. She goes from being a loving housewife, to a psychopathic woman wielding a frozen leg of lamb, just about to bring it down on her husbands head, and finally to a very cold and calculating person, covering her tracks perfectly by destroying the evidence and getting an alibi.

  2. Compare the ways Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allen Poe and Roal Dahl create the characters ...

    innocent is, "and the eyes with their new placid look, seemed larger, darker than before". This could be a sign that there is something within her that makes her capable of murder. We feel that Dahl wants us to like Mary Maloney and feel sympathy towards her, "Watching him all

  1. How does Roal Dahl create unease and tension in 'The Landlady'

    chemical such as cyanide, by referring to its smell as "corridors of a hospital". The reader can see that there is something wrong with tea, but feels saddened for Billy's inability to recognise the danger. It is Billy's inability throughout the story to spot something peculiar, which makes the reader sympathise with Billy.

  2. Compare and contrast the way the writer's depict relationships between men and women in ...

    the evidence, especially the main evidence- which this is the weapon (the leg of lamb). In Tony Kytes the writer intends on giving the story the main ingredient of sexual relationship between men and women. The writer conveyed nature- as malevolent towards those who work in harmony with the rural

  1. "Examine How Two Different Authors have used the Detective Story Genre in Different Ways ...

    We want to be Holmes because he is admired and we all seek admiration and to be better than normal people are, we strive and endeavour to be everything Holmes is. Dr Grimesby Roylott is a traditional villain. In "Lamb to the Slaughter", Mary Maloney is a soft, dependant yet strong individual.

  2. Compare the Two Short Stories, 'The Speckled Band' And 'Lamb To The Slaughter'.

    The beginning of 'Lamb To The Slaughter' gives the impression of a cosy, almost claustrophobic room. The only place that is mentioned is that one room which gives a great sense of enclosed intimacy. Everyday objects are spoken of in a careful, descriptive way Hayley Pearcy 11GIo with an emphasis

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work