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Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' shares the some of the characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and differences between the two stories and say which story you preferred with clear reasons.

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Introduction

Comparison of Texts / Post 1914 Literature Title of essay Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' shares the some of the characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and differences between the two stories and say which story you preferred with clear reasons. Both of these stories are different in the time they are set. This is important to consider when answering the question. The 'Lamb to the Slaughter' was set in 1950's England. This was a historical period in time that was very traditional which meant that family life was the most important thing in people's lives at this time. The traditional family life in 1950's England was that the man went out to work to earn money and the women stayed in to care for the children and house. Home life was the centre of people's lives. This is reflected in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' in the setting and the characters. As readers this makes us not suspect Mary Maloney as a murderer 'The Speckled Band' however is set in Victorian England in 1886. At this time in London crime was high, prostitution was common, drug abuse and murder were all common things. Sherlock Holmes became popular because the people moral about the local police was low. The people of London wanted the character of Sherlock Holmes to be real and join the police as not many crimes were being solved at this time. ...read more.

Middle

This line shows Sherlock Holmes sharpness " The left arm of your jacket is splattered with mud in no less than seven places. The marks are perfectly fresh. There is no vehicle save a dogcart, which throws up mud in that way, and then only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver". Holmes is a calming and sensitive towards Helen Stone " You must not fear". He shows his detective skills, in this story, by listening. " Sherlock Holmes had been leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed, and his head sunk in a cushion, but he half opened his lids now, and glanced across at his visitor". He doesn't care about the money, the case matters to Holmes. As a detective Sherlock Holmes knows what to do, he is prepared " You must confine yourself to your room, on pretence of a headache, when your stepfather comes back. Then when you hear him retire for the night, you must open the shutters of you window, undo the hasp, put your lamp they're as a signal to us, and then withdraw with everything, which you are likely to want into the room, which used to occupy. I have no doubt that, in site of the repairs, you could manage there for one night". At the end of the story Holmes shows he is also a kind of philosopher by saying, " Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another". ...read more.

Conclusion

' The Speckled Band' is constantly serious and dramatic. At the end of the 'Speckled Band' the crime is solved by Holmes, Dr Roylott is caught and the twist is that he dies. Holmes final comment is " in this way I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr Grimes by Roylott's death, and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience" , this shows that Holmes feels that Dr Roylott got what he deserved.' Lamb to the Slaughter' ends with an unsolved ending, as we are not sure whether or not Mary Maloney got away with murder. The detectives look foolish as they are eating the murder weapon. This is to give ' Black Comedy' to the ending of the story and to show irony, as it was right under their noses the hole time. Compared to Sherlock Holmes the detectives in ' Lamb to the Slaughter' were nowhere near to solving the murder mystery. By Mary Maloney Giggly at the end this shows that she thinks she has got away with murder. In conclusion I preferred ' The Speckled Band' because as a reader you could solve the crime as you red the story. I also thought that the style of writing of Conan Doyle was better as it was more descriptive, had more suspense and tension and was a more challenging read than' Lamb to the Slaughter. I liked the fact that Watson was the narrator rather than someone who didn't know Holmes and his work. I preferred the structure and plot of the story to the ' Lamb to the Slaughter. Sarah Turner ...read more.

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