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Compare and contrast ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene, and ‘The Speckled Band’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'Brighton Rock' by Graham Greene, and 'The Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Graham Greene wrote 'Brighton Rock' in 1938, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 'The Speckled Band' in the late 19th century. Both are detective stories, although 'The Speckled Band' is a short story originally printed as regular instalments in a newspaper. 'Brighton Rock' is a novel that was written and published in a time after that in which it is set. In these stories, as in all detective stories, someone tries to find out the truth about a crime or suspected crime that has been committed. The crime can be anything from a straightforward stolen item to a complicated murder. Investigating a crime is not the only option though, sometimes a lost item or something similar is all that is examined, and it may or may not lead to a crime. The author of a detective story can use many different ways to keep the reader engaged. One of these is by using suspense as the crime is revealed. If the author shows the nature of the crime to the reader before the detective finds out, then the reader feels a sense of irony, as they know what the detective does not, and can follow the detective's actions and reasoning. This keeps the reader interested in the story, and encourages them to read on. ...read more.

Middle

The unlikely detective in 'Brighton Rock' is Ida Arnold. She was with Fred until just before his death, and thought that the circumstances of his death were suspicious, so she decided to investigate. She is from a higher level of society than Pinkie, his mob, or Rose, who come from the slums of Brighton like Nelson Place. It is ironic that if she too had come from the slums then she would not have left Fred to 'wash up and fix' her face, so Fred may not have died. She also does the same thing at the Cosmopolitan Hotel when she could have got valuable information from Cubitt that would have saved her a lot of trouble. Ida Arnold is very different to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes has a very detached and scientific approach to his cases, whereas Ida Arnold is involved for more personal reasons. We see evidence of Holmes' deductive powers as soon a Helen Stoner arrives. Ida Arnold is much more impulsive and unpredictable, so she is the more entertaining. Holmes' methods seem to be more likely to solve a case, but Ida Arnold also manages to do so. I think this is because Sherlock Holmes is a professional detective who solves many cases, so his methods have to be consistent and realistic. Ida Arnold is solving a case only out of personal interest; she does not do this for a living. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both books are classic examples of good against evil, although it is more recognisable in 'Brighton Rock', Pinkie is obviously evil and Ida Arnold is good. In 'The Speckled Band', Holmes and, to a lesser extent Watson, are good and Dr. Roylott and his snake are evil. In both books there are also innocent people that are caught in the conflict between good and evil more through chance than decision. Graham Greene suggests through his writing that in 'Brighton Rock' these people are Pinkie's mob and Rose. In 'The Speckled Band' these people are Helen and Julia Stoner. I consider 'Brighton Rock' to be the more successful story. This is partially because it has a modern writing style, so it is more easily read. However, I also came to my decision because Graham Greene doesn't explain everything; more is left to the readers' imagination. This means that people who read the novel are able to come to their own conclusion about certain events within the book. 'The Speckled Band' leaves the murder itself a mystery until the very end, when Holmes explains how the murder was done and how he arrived at his conclusions. This story is at its best when read with the other Holmes stories, so that the reader gets more used to Holmes' methods and the writing style of Arthur Conan Doyle. With the two stories compared on their own, I feel that 'Brighton Rock' is the better story, as it is less predictable, more distinctive and unique for whoever's reading it. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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