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An essay to investigate the disturbing and reassuring aspects in the three stories

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An essay to investigate the disturbing and reassuring aspects in the three stories The aim of this essay is to explore the three texts ('The Stolen Bacillus', 'Hop Frog', and 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band') and to consider which aspects of the three stories affect us, how they influence us, and why they cause concern or console, either disturbing or reassuring us. It is concluded that there are many disturbing and reassuring aspects in the stories dependant on the perspective one may adopt. The word 'disturbing' means 'to agitate the mind, causing distress, worry, or anxiety'. The word 'reassuring' means 'to restore confidence and relieve anxiety'. These two definitions will help me with my investigation by giving me a guideline to work with. To get an understanding as to why different writers may have written the way that they did, I will consider the background information of the period the author was writing in and any aspects which would affect his subject material and style of writing. H.G. Wells was writing at the end of the nineteenth century at a time where there was a rapid social and industrial change, and he had a personal interest in social justice, science and politics. This is reflected in his writing as there is the bacteriologist (relating to science) and the anarchist (pertaining to social justice and politics). ...read more.


Helen is described as having 'restless frightened eyes', but because the word 'frightened' is used with the simile 'like those of some hunted animal', we assume she is a recessive character who is being threatened, rather than doing the threatening and therefore her character is more reassuring. This description is also very disturbing for us, because as humans we find it hard to think of another human being as being the 'hunted' and not the hunter. This is because we see humans as being 'natural' hunters, and therefore anything against our natural instincts will disturb us. Two other characters which are unexpectedly alike are Holmes and the bacteriologist. They are both linked to science; Holmes uses scientific methods for coming to a conclusion, and the bacteriologist has a career in scientific materials. The bacteriologist's miserable and disturbing depiction, contrasts with that of Holmes' much more reassuring and content character. For example, the bacteriologist is absent minded (he couldn't remember where he left the bottled cholera), whereas Holmes is sharp and observant: 'you have come by train this morning...I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glove'. The bacteriologist reveals too much (he tells the anarchist everything about cholera's nature); while Holmes holds his own council 'I should prefer to have clearer proofs before I speak'. This is an interesting comparison between a disturbing and a reassuring character. ...read more.


Roylott when he killed him? Despite these disturbing factors within the storyline, there are a number of reassuring aspects as well. For example, it is reassuring that Helen Stoner can actually find help in the form of Sherlock Holmes when a situation like this arises, and Sherlock Holmes has a genuine will to help which is proven by the fact that he does not receive payment. Also, it is very reassuring that Sherlock Holmes knew exactly how Dr. Roylott had killed his stepdaughter before he had even entered the room. It is apparent that Sherlock Holmes primarily considered the background information regarding Miss Stoner's murder and the possible motives. He then deduced the prime suspects and analyzed the evidence in hand in terms of how those suspects may have carried out the murder. In most instances, Sherlock Holmes predictions and hypotheses proved to be correct. This is reassuring because it shows that the human mind is capable of thinking something through using evidence and logic, and coming to a considerably accurate conclusion at the end. In conclusion, my analysis shows that there are many disturbing and reassuring aspects within the three texts. It also illustrates the way that some of it is not as simple or obvious as one might think. On top of this it has revealed that some aspects may also have two sides to it, making it both disturbing and reassuring at the same time, depending at which point of view you look at it from - rather like in real life. ...read more.

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