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Discuss how the authors create tension and discuss the devices used to mislead the reader in 'The Speckled Band' and 'The Monkey's Paw'

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Read ?The Speckled Band? by A. Conan. Doyle and ?The Monkey?s Paw? by W. W. Jacobs. Discuss how the authors create tension and discuss the devices Used to mislead the reader. ?The Speckled Band? by A. Conan. Doyle and ?The Monkey?s Paw? by W. W. Jacobs are two very different stories; ?The Speckled Band? follows the ?murder mystery? line whereas ?The Monkey?s Paw? is based more around horror genre. This means that they will create tension and mislead the reader in completely different ways. In this essay I am going to explore how the two authors do this, and compare their methods for doing so. Arthur Conan Doyle creates tension in many ways. At the beginning of ?The Speckled Band?, he creates tension by showing the effects of this dreadful crime on the characters. We are told Sherlock is usually a ?late riser?, however, because of this new case, his routine was broken because at a quarter-past seven, Watson awakes to find Sherlock Holmes, fully dressed, standing by the side of his bed. Helen Stoner, the client who sought Holmes? services as a detective, when speaking to Sherlock and Watson, was shivering, not from the cold as one would first assume, but from fear. The way she says ?It is not cold which makes me shiver. It is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is terror,? creates tension because she first says what does not make her shiver as if holding off telling them, and then, using short sentences, she repeats the two words, ?it is?. ...read more.


His hand grasped the monkey?s paw, and with a little shiver he wiped his hand on his coat?. This could be hinting to the bad things that are going to happen to him. These sinister faces create tension and adds to the mysterious air surrounding the paw. Another possible hint to the bad things ahead is that when the sergeant was describing the paw, he said,? It had a spell put on it by an old fakir. He wanted to show that fate ruled people?s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow?. This last sentence was a possible sign for the terrible events ahead. In ?The Monkey?s Paw? tension is created by seeing how the characters behave to the certain events. For instance, when a man came from Maw and Meggins, Herbert?s place of work, to tell the family of Herbert?s accident, we see that Mrs. White was distraught by this accident, ?She caught her breath, and turning to her slower-witted husband, laid her trembling old hand upon his, and the fact that Herbert was ?caught in the machinery? means that his body must have been desecrated which creates the most horrific images. This creates tension and enables the reader to empathise how they must be feeling. Another way in which tension is evoked is by characters being mysterious and withholding information. When the sergeant is asked indirectly whether he has had his three wishes he said quietly, ?I have? and his blotchy face whitened. ...read more.


They play no role in the mystery, hence giving depth to the plot. Also we are told of the animals he has, a baboon and a cheetah. These seemingly pay no role in the mystery, until Sherlock Holmes later finds a saucer of milk in the Doctors bedroom and then finds out that he also has an extremely poisonous Indian snake. I think that although it gives us background information, Helen Stoner?s first speech which ultimately gives us more information than we need, could be put there to mislead the reader, because we are trying to take in all this information and make our own predictions as to what we think happened. Therefore this would just confuse the reader. In this speech, we are told that Helen?s sister, Julia, could smell Dr. Roylott?s cigars, because of a small ventilator connecting the two rooms.. However, in the coroner?s report, he mentioned nothing about the ventilator which just misleads the reader. Also, he did not see the two puncture marks made by the snake which would have made the mystery a lot less confusing. Although ?The Monkey?s Paw? is a story full of mystery and suspense due to the immense tension created, my favourite out of the two is undoubtedly ?The Speckled Band? due to its sensational plot, a successful combination of elaborate characters and the intriguing circumstances which we are presented at the beginning of the story. One of the most iconic things about a ?murder mystery? is its unique ability to keep the reader guessing until the end of the story until the truth is revealed to us by Sherlock Holmes, which is why, in part, ?The Speckled Band? is so effective. ...read more.

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