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Does 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' meet your criteria for a good short story?

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Introduction

GCSE English Literature Coursework - Chris Russell Does 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' meet your criteria for a good short story? A short story is a work of fiction shorter than a novel or novelette, and is one of the oldest forms of literature. Some of the most famous short stories are 'The Canterbury Tales' by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th Century. However, before the 1800s short stories did not get much respect, and were seen as a poor relation of the novel. At around 1835, Edgar Allen Poe became the first writer to make the short story a distinct literary form. After this the popularity of this form of literature grew in popularity due to short stories being published in magazines and journals, becoming widely available. 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' was written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1892. It was published as part of a book of twelve short stories, all in the crime genre. Conan Doyle was and still is famous for his crime stories involving the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. Before taking up professional writing, Conan Doyle was a doctor. The first of the Sherlock Holmes stories was 'A Study in Scarlet' and was published in 1887. The crime story genre was very popular in the 19th century, and many established writers wrote stories of this type. ...read more.

Middle

The tone set at the start of 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' is formal, which is expected from a 19th Century crime story. Also. Watson is a doctor, and during the 1800s all doctors would be upper class. This would also be why the story is written in a formal tone. Having the formal tone gives the reader the impression that everything said in the story is important. I think that this tone is the best one that could be chosen by Conan Doyle. It is explaining a very serious incident so it should be as formal as it is. Tension and suspense are vital for a short crime story genre. It provides a way of keeping the reader interested. 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' has a very fast pace, as the whole thing takes place in the space of twenty four hours, from Miss Stoner coming to visit Holmes and Watson, to the finding of Dr Roylott's corpse. The pace is increased when Holmes says "we are going to Stoke Moran this day." This gives the impression that he has an idea and it is urgent that they get to investigate as soon as possible. Another way tension is created is by Conan Doyle's style of using dialogue. Holmes says "Your life may depend upon your compliance," and also "We are only just in time to prevent some terrible crime." ...read more.

Conclusion

The ending of the story satisfactorily explains what has happened, but doesn't drag it out too much. Conan Doyle puts all of the ensuing events in to one small paragraph because 'It is not necessary that I [Watson] should prolong a narrative which has already run too great a length.' I think that 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' is a brilliant short crime story. It possesses all of the qualities that it should, and keeps the reader interested to the very end. For me, tension and character were two of the most successful parts of the story. It is a story that one could easily read from start to finish, as it creates so much suspense, and the reader desperately wants to find out if and how the mystery was solved. The characters, especially Dr Grimesby Roylott, were interesting and aroused emotion towards them. Although the tone of the story is formal, and a bit old fashioned, I believe 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' is as successful today, in the 21st century as it was when it was written, in 1892. The story could be transferred into film, and it would be very good, but it may be too short. If someone did decide to attempt this they would have to find a way to add length. They might have to add some extra characters, and go into more depth. However, this may take away from the original version, and the overall storyline. ...read more.

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