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Compare 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to The Slaughter' referring to the structure, language and characterisation - In what ways are the stories typical of the detective story genre?

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Introduction

Compare 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to The Slaughter' referring to the structure, language and characterisation. In what ways are the stories typical of the detective story genre? In this essay I will compare 'The Speckled Band' (by Arthur Conan Doyle) and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' (by Roald Dahl). 'The Speckled Band' was written in 1892 by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle. This story is a classic Sherlock Holmes murder mystery. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' was written by Roald Dahl in 1954 and is a very unusual murder mystery. 'The Speckled Band' is a classic murder mystery with a culprit that uses an unusual murder weapon and is only discovered near the very end of the story. A typical detective story is that of Sherlock Holmes, as nobody knows for sure who the culprit is until the very end, there is always suspense somewhere in the story and there are always 'red herrings' which are mis-leading clues. The story is explained and narrated by Sherlock Holmes' friend and partner, Dr. Watson. He tells us he had sworn to a secrecy deal for as long as Helen Stoner was to live, he says; '...a promise of secrecy was made at the time from which I have only been freed during the last month...' ...read more.

Middle

'Why don't you eat up that lamb that's in the oven? It'll be cooked just right now.' This story is not a typical detective story, it is more of a comedy or a 'spoof' story. In typical detective stories there are usually wrongly accused suspects and mis-leading clues or murder weapons. Detective stories are usually more sophisticated and very difficult to solve before all is told. There is one element that relates 'Lamb to the Slaughter' with a typical detective story, and that is an unpredictable murder suspect and weapon. 'The Speckled Band' has a substantial amount of writing for according to the period it was written in. The paragraphs in the story are considerably larger than the paragraphs in 'Lamb to the Slaughter'. This is because of the period in which each story was written, 'The Speckled Band' was written in 1892, an old fashioned period and therefore we expect the story to be written in old fashioned type language and substantially longer. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' was written in 1954 which is quite recent, because of it's time, we expect the story to have a modern structure and not to 'drag on'. When a dramatic point is reached in 'Lamb to the Slaughter', paragraphs and sentences are short, sharp and to the point. ...read more.

Conclusion

As he says; 'Very sorry to knock you up Watson' He is showing that he is polite, even when he is waking his partner up for an important business matter. He also shows his feelings by getting up and working as an upset client comes before him, 'What is it then ,a fire? No, a client. It seems that a young lady has arrived in a Considerable state of excitement, who insists on seeing me'. This shows that he has a considerable amount of care and a need to satisfy his clients. He describes Watson as a keen partner and very eager to help Holmes in whatever he does, Dr. Watson says to himself; 'My dear fellow, I would not miss it for anything. I had no pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations'. This shows that he obviously admires Holmes' work and success in solving crime. He makes the reader think that Holmes and Watson are dedicated to solving crime and helping people in distress. Both, Holmes and Watson are similar in attitude towards their profession, this gives the whole story a push onto their jobs as no-one is going to astray from the case involved. The main characters are stereotypical of Victorian heroines and villains because the heroines are very smart and work things out cleverly without the aid of modern technology. Ben Moore ...read more.

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