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Compare and Contrast Roald Dahl's Lamb to the Slaughter and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Speckled Band.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast Roald Dahl's Lamb to the Slaughter and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Speckled Band While both stories are murder stories, Lamb to the Slaughter is not a typical murder mystery. A typical murder mystery would be one where a dashing detective saves the damsel in distress from the evil murderer in an old mansion. Quite simply, that describes the story in The Adventure of the Speckled Band. On the other hand, Lamb to the Slaughter is not a bit typical. It is set in a warm home where a woman is knitting and peacefully counting away the time before her husband comes home. It could be argued that Mrs Maloney would more likely be a victim in a story, rather than a murderer. In the early part of the play she is described as: "Her skin - for this was her sixth month with child - had acquired a wonderful translucent quality, the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look, seemed larger, darker than before." Dr Roylott is much more sinister, and in that way the story was quite predictable: "Violence and temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family" The character of Mrs Maloney is by far the more interesting of the two. ...read more.

Middle

The murder in The Adventure of the Speckled Band is more sinister and planed. The mystery needs to be solved, and the motive is personal gain. However, Lamb to the Slaughter is written focusing on the murderer. This technique is most probably used because it helps to show the emotion and thoughts of Mrs Maloney. This contrasts with the fact that in The Adventure of the Speckled Band, the attention focuses on the detective, which is a preferred technique of murder mystery writers, probably because it leaves room for a sequel. The Adventure of the Speckled Band is written in the first person. Lamb to the Slaughter, however, is in the third person. Usually writing in the first person would give a greater indication of the characters feelings and emotions. In this instance this is not the case as the Speckled Band, although written in first person, is set out as a very clinical, scrupulous report. The detailed description of Mrs Maloney's emotion in Lamb to the Slaughter gives it a more personal feel. To add to this high level of description, Mrs Maloney is in every scene, allowing the reader to get even closer to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Lamb to the Slaughter, you wonder if Mrs Maloney will get away with it. In Lamb to the Slaughter the reader is constantly updated with the facts and information of the time. In The Adventure of the Speckled Band, the plot is only unravelled right at the last stage. Another contrasting point is that Conan Doyle set out to make a "normal" detective story. Dahl set out to go against the principles of normal murder detective stories and has definitely succeeded. I personally think that The Adventure of the Speckled Band, although good in many respects, is too long-winded and descriptive. It is also very predictable and serious. In contrast, Lamb to the Slaughter is humorous, too the point and interesting to read. The Adventure of the Speckled Band is also more old-fashioned, making it even less appealing. The development of character in Roald Dahl's story seems much more interesting. The likely victim ends up murderer, the likely murderer ends up dead and the detectives just seem a bit slow to catch on from the moment they are introduced. As such I favour Lamb to the Slaughter, and other works of Roald Dahl. Both books do entertain different audiences and both are recognised as great books. Comparison of short Stories- Andrew Waite - 11SJ ...read more.

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