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Compare and Contrast 'The Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which was written in the late 19th century, and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' by Roald Dahl, which was written in the 20th century.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast The Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which was written in the late 19th century, and Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl, which was written in the 20th century are both detective stories in which readers have different expectations of them. This essay will compare and contrast the two. Dr Watson, who is the detective's companion, narrates the 'Speckled Band'. The story is about the mysterious death of a young woman, Julia Stoner, stepdaughter of Dr Grimesby Roylott. The mysterious thing about the death was that there was no mark on the body and so the death was unexplained. The victim's twin-sister, Helen Stoner, comes to Sherlock Holmes seeking help and answers to the cause of her sister's death. She firstly tells Holmes about her stepfather's life and violence and then about her sister's extraordinary death and fears the same fate since she has to move to the room Julia died. They arrange to meet in Helen's old mansion where Holmes and Watson inspect the room in which Julia died. There they spend a tense, nerve racking and an anxious night investigating the mystery. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is narrated in third person. It is about the death of a detective called Patrick Maloney, husband of Mary Maloney. Patrick comes home from work and is tired so he sits down. Patrick's wife Mary who is 6 months pregnant hassles Patrick and insists on eating his dinner. Patrick refuses and confesses something shocking, but Mary is still willing to cook dinner. ...read more.

Middle

We feel sympathy for Julia since she was engaged and was due to be married pretty soon which she never did due to her death. Her death is not very common and typical but unexpected. The victim in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is the husband of the villain, Mary Maloney. At first we do not feel sympathetic towards Patrick since he wanted to leave Mary. We can guess this even though we are not told directly when we find out afterwards, after Patrick says, "Of course I'll give you money and see you're looked after". We are also sympathetic to Mary because she is six months pregnant and we see almost entirely through the consciousness of Mary Maloney. Patrick's death is also not very common but unexpected. However, after Mary Maloney kills Patrick and changes her character completely then we feel sympathy for Patrick and think of Mary as two-faced. Mary's character is firstly, a housewife who cares for her husband and loves him and then secondly a murderer who is trying to escape punishment. Thus the portrayal of the victim does differ from one another. In the 'Speckled band' we know how Doctor Grimesby Roylott went about killing Julia in the middle of the story and at the end of the story. We know this from the clues no one except Holmes observes and picks up which in the end works what they mean and how they are linked to the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

expectations and suspicions, a wrongly accused suspect whom the circumstantial evidence points and concludes with a startling or unexpected outcome, during which the detective explains how he or she arrived at the mystery's solution. 'Lamb o the Slaughter' mainly concentrates on the plot rather than the actual investigation. The detectives in the story are mentioned nevertheless it does not mention how they carried out the investigation. In addition, in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' they do not catch the villain. The 'Speckled band' is more concentrated on the investigation of how Sherlock Holmes solves the mystery. It has almost all the formulas for a classical detective story. There are suspects, clues and Sherlock Holmes also gives his conclusion during which he explains how he arrived at the mystery's solution. In addition to the 'Speckled band', it has more suspense and tension. When Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson stay for the night in Julia's room, the atmosphere is very intense. In the story the author creates a tense and suspense atmosphere by describing the feelings of Dr Watson, the choice of words and the description of what he is hearing. For example, when Holmes and Dr Watson sit in the dark, Dr Watson describes the outside noises of the birds and the whining of the cheetah. Furthermore the choice of words used to describe the suspense and tension makes the scene unexpected, tense and suspense. In conclusion, I think the 'Speckled Band' fulfils my expectations as of a classical detective story. Alomgir Karim 11M Page 1 5/10/2007 3892 ...read more.

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