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Compare the "Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the slaughter" referring to the structure and language and characterisation - In what ways are the stories typical of the detective story genre?

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Introduction

English Coursework Wider Reading by Sarah Innes 10BS Compare the "Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the slaughter" referring to the structure and language ands characterisation. In what ways are the stories typical of the detective story genre? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the "Speckled band" in 1820. At the time London was a crowded cramped and filthy place. Crime was rife and there were many immoral things taking place. The Police at this time were seen as useless the Police didn't protect the public and were seen as a joke. Women were seen as objects. Women were to be seen and not heard. They had no rights of their own and their father or husband ruled them. This story reflects the life of people at the time. Roald Dahl wrote "Lamb to the Slaughter" in 1954. At this time Britain had won a war and was reaping the benefits. Women were no longer seen as delicate ornaments. Women were seen to be almost as good as the men they had proved this during the previous two world wars. Women had to do the men's jobs while the men were away fighting. Technology had changed during this time partly due to the war people now had all kinds of labour saving appliances in their homes. People were more knowledgeable at this time and there fore they did not need everything explaining to them like in the Victorian era. A detective story usually consists of three main parts. ...read more.

Middle

They also use titles; even Holmes and Dr Watson who are best friends call each other by their surnames. "You are not adverse to this trip Watson?" This suggests distance that familiarity was not acceptable. Helen Stoner even called members of her own family by their full name or in other formal ways. " When Dr Roylett was in India he married my mother, Mrs Stoner the young widow of major General Stoner, of Bengal Artillery" The sentence structure is very elaborate. The word order of sentences is very different from today language. " I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations and in admiring the rapid deductions as swift as intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis, with which he unravelled the problems which were submitted to him". This is a marker of nineteenth century writing. The story is full of melodrama. This is because in the nineteenth century people were not as knowledgeable as they are in the twentieth century. Scientists had not yet discovered much about the world, therefore people were not as intelligent and needed things to be as extremely exciting keep their interest. When Watson is describing Miss Stoner it is very melodramatic. "With restless frightened eyes like those of some hunted animal" This is to interest the reader and make them read on. The setting is also very melodramatic. It is early in the morning Stroke Moran is also shown as overly frightening. ...read more.

Conclusion

"she loved him for the way he sat loosely in his chair." This makes us think that she could not possibly be a murderer. This lulls us into a false sense of security. So when the murder takes place it is more of a shock. Rold Dahl tells us what Mary Maloney is thinking so we can understand more about the story from her perspective. It lets us into her state of mind when she committed the murder. Mary Maloney starts off being a stereotypical housewife. She is sweet and a homemaker not a typical murderer. She then commits the murder on impulse. Mary now becomes calculating and cunning. This makes the story more shocking and powerful because there is an unexpected twist. Patrick Maloney is seen as a strong masculine mane. A police officer so he is obviously strong. He could possibly be the murderer. We then see that he is murdered by a small sweet pregnant woman. This is a modern idea of the week defeating the strong. The characters are like real people would have been at the time. Women were housewives that stayed at home and cooked. Men were seen to go out to very important jobs. The two stories are very different. "Speckled Band" is completely typical of the genre. Where as "Lamb to the Slaughter" is not. In "Speckled Band the murderer is a huge man who pays for his crimes. In "Lamb to the Slaughter" the murderer is a small woman that gets away with the crime. I prefer "Lamb to the Slaughter" because it is more unusual and you would never guess what was going to happen from the beginning. ...read more.

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