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An analysis of the Detective Genre.

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An analysis of the Detective Genre. The detective genre is a style of writing which follows a strict set of conventions, for example the criminal must be introduced early, not just brought in at the end. Edgar Allen Poe, an American, wrote the first detective story, 'Murder on the rue Morgue.' All detective stories are based on and influenced by this story. Doyle's stories follow the conventions of Poe's 'Murder on the rue Morgue' as in most of Doyle's stories are 'locked room' cases and have a gothic and exotic element in them. In 1929 a writer called Monsignor Roland Knox set out ten conventions which he suggested that any writer of detective fiction should follow, these conventions seemed to be set on Doyle's stories. The detective genre is popular due to its mysterious and baffling crimes, gothic settings and supernatural and exotic touches and the fact that the detective restores order by logic. In this essay I will discuss how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories follow the detective genre and how he is successful in making them interesting. I will look at, in particular The Case Of The Speckled Band, The Case Of The Man With The Twisted Lip and The Case Of The Devils Foot. 'Elementary' and 'There's a crime a foot' are associated with one of the most famous detectives of the fiction world, Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a polite person this can be seen in The Speckled Band, ' Very sorry to knock you up, Watson' 'Will you not wait for breakfast.' These all show Holmes politeness and kindness, this makes his character look caring and reassure the reader and clients. Holmes character is eccentric as well, this is shown by the quote from The Speckled Band 'he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual and fantastic.' This makes the short stories interesting as they contain a gothic, exotic and supernatural atmosphere. ...read more.


'Where is it then. But I am all in the dark' are quotes on Watson are taken form The Man With The Twisted Lip. Watson makes the reader more involved in the stories and helps us understand what is going on and how Holmes has used his skills to get clues. Watson asks questions like these, through out the stories. This helps the reader get some more clues that Watson might not have mentioned. Another examples of Watson not understanding is ' But what then did the gypsies do?' 'But what harm can there be in that?' and ' I cannot as yet see any connection' these are all present in The Speckled Band. He again gets Holmes to explain his theories to the reader and helps the reader to understand. Elements of gothic exotic and supernatural are always used in detective stories. They create an interest in the story. Gothic stories were popular from the eighteen century till today, they involved gloomy places, secret passages, danger, supernatural, different and ghostly elements. These stories were written in the 1890s. People were feeling insecure as the end of 19th century was approaching. There were rumours that the world was going to end. The arrival of their crime detecting new hero, Sherlock Holmes, would have definitely provided reassurance. Another thing that needs to be considered is that many Victorian and Edwardian people believed that Sherlock Holmes did exist and for them the fact that Holmes always finds the criminal gave a sense of security. Another way of creating the gothic element is to write about familiar places. This horrifies and attracts people as they know the places and perhaps some live or work near these places. Doyle also writes the dates and years when the incident took place this makes it even more realistic and horrific. During the time period that Doyle wrote his stories Britain had a growing empire covering two fifths of the world. ...read more.


In each case, also, there is combustion going on in the room - - in the one case a fire, in the other a lamp.' This quote taken from The Devils Foot shows us how Holmes sums up the clues relevant for this case, also how these murders have been committed. Another example of Holmes denouemont is present in The Speckled Band, ' I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room. An inspection of his chair showed me that he had been in a habit of standing on it, which of course would be necessary in order that he should reach the ventilator... ...The metallic clang heard by Miss Stoner was obviously caused by her stepfather hastily closing the door of his safe upon it's terrible occupant...' Again Holmes sums up how this crime took place and the clues that led to him solving this case. The readers are not as clever as Holmes and will need him to explain what has happened and why. Doyle's stories follow a set pattern, they all follow the rules of the detective genre, in fact that the rules of detective genre were set on Doyle's stories. His stories were really popular during Victorian times as they represented justice and made people feel secure that some one was out there cleaning up the streets of crime. However a lot has changed since the Victorian times. These days detectives and villains can be women. The villains do not necessary look evil and often the people you expect to be villains are not the actual villains. During the Victorian period Doyle had to base his stories on the Middle class values, as middle class people read his stories most. Also as he was the member of the class himself. In conclusion Doyle has used a lot of different elements and techniques to make his stories interesting and gripping. Hence writing stories based on the conventions will ensure an absorbing and a thrilling read until the end. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nada Abbas 11 Orwell 1 ...read more.

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