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Comparison Of Two 19th Century Crime Stories.

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Introduction

Comparison Of Two 19th Century Crime Stories Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe, both authors who are eminent for the content of their stories, wrote about crime. Though they invented stories concerning crime, they both wrote through different perspectives. This essay is going to compare how the characters of both stories, 'Tell Tale Heart' written by Poe, and 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' written by Doyle, have been portrayed differently by their authors as well as exploring into the language style of the two stories. The historical backgrounds of both authors have influenced the way their stories are written. Poe was seen to have an unstable life as his mother died at and early age of three, and after that he was taken into a foster home of John Allan. He was educated at the University of Virginia. Later he went through a quarrel with his foster father and left home. He served in the U.S. Army under a false name, Edgar A. Perry, and incorrect age and then attended West Point from 1830 to 1831 but got himself dismissed when he realized he would never be reconciled with his foster father. He wrote Gothic novels, which is a type of fiction, written in reaction to 18th-c rationalism, that reclaims mystery and licenses extreme emotions. His third volume of poetry brought him neither fame nor profit but in 1833 he won a prize for best short story. From 1844, he settled down in New York as an editor and all this while he was gaining some reputation for his short stories, poems, reviews, and essays, such stories as "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839), "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841), and "The Gold bug" (1843), would later be regarded as classics of their genre. He gained some fame from the publication in 1845 of a dozen stories as well as of 'The Raven and Other Poems', and he enjoyed a few months of calm as a respected critic. ...read more.

Middle

(The Adventure Of The Speckled Band.) To the reader, Holmes' portrays his own intellect through the long sentences he uses to verbalize his thoughts on a case, 'I can only claim that I instantly reconsidered my position when, however, it became clear to me that whatever danger threatened an occupant of the room could not come either from the window or the door'. With a combination of intricate terminology, 'indulge in ferocious quarrels' and long sentence lengths, Holmes', plus with the style of Watson's narrating techniques, is able to augment his own image as being a rational thinker. This also creates a slow effect, when being read, which is comprehensible for the reader, though not as accessible to Watson's way of thinking. Overall, it could be seen that Watson depicts Holmes as a honourable person, even through language, and Holmes' speech articulates his image. On the other hand, Watson seems to be not so rational, dissimilar to his partner, Holmes, in formulating observations and deductions. When read, Watson's observations and deductions do not seem to come from rational grounds, 'I saw nothing remarkable save the bell-rope, and what purpose that could answer I confess is more than I can imagine,' but his sentence length, like Holmes, is moderately long. When narrating, Watson uses inverted word order in speech, 'the name is familiar to me,' said he,' and this makes the style of the story seem more sophisticated to the reader. Watson's use of adjectives is reasonably refined, 'somber errand,' but it does not seems so, due to the way Watson tends to think, that is to say Watson is not as sharp-minded as his partner Holmes, therefore lowering down his sophisticated image. When observing, Watson, at times, describes things through comparison, 'fleshless nose...resemblance to a fierce old bird prey,' showing that he has a great view of things when observing but not as such a strong mind to formulate rational deductions. ...read more.

Conclusion

The development is mainly focused on the actions and feelings of the protagonist and how he progressed into the murder but it does not describe, in detail, how he actually committed the crime, 'in an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him.' The crisis of the story occurs when the 'officers' arrive in order to search the protagonist's premises. Though at first he is satisfied with the fact that he had left no signs of the deed and that he will not be caught, 'no blood spot whatever. I had been too wary for that,' his conscience starts to takeover, 'I felt myself getting pale...my head ached...ringing in my ears. I gasped for breathe...more vehemently,' and at this point, his reaction seems disproportional to the event. Ultimately, the resolution ends with the protagonist assuming that the 'ringing' he is hearing is from the beating of the 'old man's' heart, and due to that, he confesses his crime, 'I admit the deed! - Tear up the planks! Here, here! - It is the beating of his hideous heart.' Overall, comparing the structure of the two stories, 'Tell Tale Heart' and "The Adventure of the Speckled Band,' it could be seen that they both follow a formulaic plot, but the authors accentuate on different parts of the plot, such as the problem or development, in different proportions, either emphasizing more or less on it. For example, Poe emphasizes the self-obsessive actions and feelings of the protagonist in the development more than the others, whereas Doyle emphasizes more on the problem, which is discussed between the client and Holmes. In Doyle's stories there are many characters, which are significant in the plot in their own way, such as Holmes, Watson, the convict and the victim, whereas in Poe's stories the protagonist is the victim himself. The language is intricate, in both stories, from their own point of views, but because of Holmes' logical reasoning behind everything and Poe's self-obsessive actions, it does not seem so. Aqsa Mansoor 10B English Literature. Coursework ...read more.

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