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Compare and Contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' And 'The Speckled Band' As Murder Mysteries

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' And 'The Speckled Band' As Murder Mysteries When many people think of a murder mystery, they think of a dark and stormy night, a large forbidding house, a gunshot heard by everyone yet seen by no one, and the phrases "you're probably wondering why I called you all here", "The butler did it", and of course not forgetting "elementary, my dear Watson". In the end, the intelligent and very observant detective solves the case, and justice, sometimes through the courts and sometimes poetic is served. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are both stories based around a suspicious death. Roald Dahl wrote 'Lamb to the Slaughter' in 1954. Roald Dahl is famous for writing children's stories, like George's Marvellous Medicine and James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dalh also writes stories for adults. They are usually about ordinary people doing strange things. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 'The Speckled Band' in 1892. His stories are about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Before readings this story I knew that Sherlock Holmes was a famous detective working with fellow college Doctor Watson and Scotland Yard. Because of the times when they were written, the language is different also. Conan Doyle uses the Victorian style of language. His writing is more complex. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's language is more descriptive. It takes him about half a page just to describe the setting of the story. Conan Doyle sometimes uses phrases, which can now be quite tricky to understand such as 'knock you up'. This is archaic language, which is not regularly used nowadays. ...read more.

Middle

The room is 'warm and clean' it seems very 'tranquil' and calm. Mary is merrily sitting in her chair knitting away waiting for her husband to come home from work, 'punctually as always'. 'The speckled Band' is a completely different setting, because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes Stoke Moran. He gives us a very good detailed description. The building was 'Grey, lichen-blotched stone', it seams very deadly and a little bit grotty, two curving wings 'Like the claws of a crab' This makes you feel trapped, and threatened. Windows were broken. This shows the house was not very well maintained it was a 'Picture of ruin'. There is a link between the state of the house and the residents. In fact the lack of repair was part of the murderer's plan in forcing the two female residents into a room next to his own. The Maloney's house is very orderly, organised and a very pleasant place to be, and everything seems to have its own place, which is a link to Mary who is very happy and pleasant. As for Stoke Moran it is 'a picture of ruin' not a nice place to be it seams very creepy and un-welcoming which is a link to Dr Roylott as he is very evil and not a very pleasant person. He doesn't seem to think about or care for anyone but himself. The characters in both stories are different but also have things in common. Mary Maloney is 'six month with child'. She is a good housewife, and seems to keep the house very neat and tidy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Secondly, I particularly like the way in which Dahl's characters develop as the story goes on. Mary Maloney goes from loving housewife and potential victim to possible psychopathic murderer. Patrick Maloney develops from potential psychopathic murderer to dead victim, and the detectives... well the detectives are pretty dim to begin with anyway. While Conan Doyle's stay rigid and static. Dr Roylott stays violent, Helen Stoner stays terrified, and Holmes stays as vigilant and observant as ever. The main ingredient of a detective story is that the villain is caught and justice is achieved. This happens in 'The Speckled Band', with the poetic justice of Dr Roylott's death, but in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' it doesn't, and the villain gets off "scot-free". Even if they had found her out, they wouldn't have any evidence. The main ingredient is missing in 'Lamb to the Slaughter', but even so, that doesn't make the story any worse. It seems odd that two stories both aimed at different age groups. Roald Dahl's audience is normally children, and Conan Doyle wrote for adults. One story ends with a clean and reassuring justice, 'The Speckled Band', the other ends with complications. I would say that the main difference between the two stories is, one is serious, and abides by 'the rules' of traditional murder mysteries ('The Speckled Band'), and the other is just comical, making fun of the police force, ('Lamb to the Slaughter'). This one difference pushes the stories poles apart from each other, and yet, they both make for an interesting read. All in all, people will always like to read Murder Mysteries because they are interesting and they make you think about what will happen, and you have to work things out using clues which you have been given. ...read more.

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