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Comparing two stories from "Nineteenth Century Short Stories", "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and "The Half Brothers" by Elizabeth Gaskell

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Introduction

Nineteenth Century Short Story Assignments-English Literature In this essay I will be comparing two stories from "Nineteenth Century Short Stories", "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and "The Half Brothers" by Elizabeth Gaskell. I am going to look at how family relationships are used in each story and how similar the family relationships are compared to each other. In, "the adventure of the speckled band" one of the main characters is Helen Stoner who tells Sherlock Holmes the story. She has no immediate family left except her aunt but she lives with her stepfather, Dr Grimsby Roylott. Her twin sister Julia died at the age of twenty eight and her mom, Mrs Stoner, the young widow of Major-General Stoner, died six years before Julia. Dr Roylott, "the last survivor of one of the oldest Saxon families in England, the Roylotts of Stoke Moran", has no friends at all and is feared by most people in the village. His late wife had left money for him to give to Helen and Julia when they got engaged but coincidently, soon after Dr Roylott had heard of Julia's engagement, she was mysteriously murdered. ...read more.

Middle

Similarly, in "The Half Brothers" William Preston hurt Gregory but mainly because he was jealous that his late wife loved Gregory more than she loved him. He, "never got over his grudging dislike to his stepson who had wrestled so innocently with him for the possession of my mother's heart". In the text, the only evidence of Gregory being physically harmed is when Gregory's headmaster, "grew weary of scolding and flogging". Both Gregory and Helen forgive their stepfathers easily and don't hold grudges for a long time. This shows how the relationship between Gregory and William is similar to that of Helen and Dr Roylott. "The Half Brothers" explains that Gregory would, "try do a kind turn for anyone, even if they had been scolding or cuffing him not a minute before." Helen is similar to Gregory because when Sherlock Holmes noticed the finger marks on her hand and realised it was Dr Roylott who made those marks, Helen tried to defend him and said, and "perhaps he hardly knows his own strength." ...read more.

Conclusion

He killed Julia just because he didn't want her to get her engagement money and attempted to kill Helen as well. This shows that he would have rather had money than any sort of family or friends. In, Elizabeth Gaskell's, "The Half Brother's" the main concept was jealousy and how jealousy could, also, lead to the breakdown of a family as it did with William Preston and Gregory. William was so jealous of Gregory that he made his life worthless. Both Authors made the characters that caused all the pain in the family suffer in the end and get paid back. In, "The Speckled Band," Dr Roylott got killed by his own snake which was actually supposed to kill Helen. In, "The Half Brothers" William Preston feels so guilty because he made Gregory's life a living hell and Gregory repaid him by sacrificing his own life for William's only son. In conclusion, I feel that both authors were trying to let the reader know how one person can easily break family relationships but in the end that person will be punished somehow either physically or mentally, even if it doesn't help the family get back together. ...read more.

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