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Comparison of ‘The Judge’s house’ by Bram Stoker and ‘The Speckled Band’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Introduction

Comparison of 'The Judge's house' by Bram Stoker and 'The Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle In this essay I am going to compare and contrast two stories from the murder mystery genre of the 19th Century. The stories are 'The Judge's house' by Bram Stoker and 'The Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These stories are both important because they are a part of a traditional murder, mystery and detective stories that are still popular today. In the 19th Century, the importance of short stories in this genre was very high. The beliefs of witch Craft, animal powers, magic, the afterlife and super natural behaviors were beginning to emerge. The public was showing considerable interest in these dramatic and gripping stories, and so the magazine and newspaper publishers started to take advantage of this craze. They would publish a short story in each edition of their magazine that finished on a cliffhanger; the conclusion being published in the next edition. This sold a greater number of magazines. To create an effective and gripping murder/mystery story, there are many key aspects which need attention. Most of the time, the murder takes place at the beginning of the story, possibly even the opening scene. ...read more.

Middle

One moment the narrator uses heavily negative language and vocabulary, the next moment he changes the focus to calmer and positive points. He quickly switches the attention from the "rats and bogies" and "beetles and creaky doors" to the "table spread for super" and the "fire burning on the old hearth". Malcolmson seems only affected by the positive things, the negative things he dismisses and ignores until the end of the story. The narrator in 'The Judges House' also helps to build up tension by the slow release of clues of details. This gradual revealing of different observations keeps the reader thinking and asking themselves questions as to what is going to happen next. The way the bell rope is described, but not explained makes the reader guess what it is. "The thing that struck him, however, was the rope of the great alarm bell on the roof". The reader is aware that the rope puzzles Malcolmson. The narrator also describes things using colours like the "black cap" worn by the Judge, black being a colour associated with death and mourning. He also describes the fire which "threw out a red glow" which is associated with the devil. In 'The Speckled Band', the narration is actually split at one point between Watson and Helen Stoker. ...read more.

Conclusion

Personally, I believe that they may have been the previous victims of the judge. If the great rat was the judge, then it would make sense that the other rats were silenced at his entrance, like respecting a judge when he enters a courtroom. The rats were there to warn off potential victims, and they tried to help Malcolmson escape by ringing the bell. When the judge heard the rats ringing the bell he "looked up, a scowl of diabolical anger overspread his face". The word diabolical is a very strong word to show he was furious. "As he raised his hand the rats fled the swaying rope of the alarm bell". They were afraid of him and feared his anger. In conclusion, these two stories are excellent examples of the murder mystery genre written in that period. At the start of the story the situation is exposed. The scene is established, and the characters are introduced. Conflict and Complication then occur in the middle of the story, where clues and red herrings are added in to build up the tension and suspension. This all builds a climax up to the conclusion/solution and the resolution. Personally, I choose 'The Speckled Band' to be my favourite story of the two. They story is more based on a logical explanation, and although some of the theories my of seemed a bit absurd, a little imagination is always need to perceive these stories as true. ...read more.

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