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Examine How Tension and Suspense are ¡®Created in The Stolen Bacillus¡¯ and ¡®The Adventure of the Speckled Band¡¯

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Examine How Tension and Suspense are 'Created in The Stolen Bacillus' and 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' Simon Hearne The titles of each short story differ quite substantially, when the reader reads the title of Herbert George Wells' story, 'The Stolen Bacillus', an idea of the story is immediately formed. Most educated people know that a Bacillus is a single bacterium, and if not, then the reader knows at least that something is going to be stolen, namely a Bacillus. The short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, however, has a mysterious and misleading title. Calling it an 'Adventure' immediately puts the reader off-track as to the main story line and the meaning of 'the Speckled Band' remains unknown until the very end of the story. H. G. Wells' title does not do much to induce tension or suspense in the reader, it simply tells them that it is another story where someone steals something, it acts like the blurb on the back of a full novel. Doyle's title, however, because of its mysterious nature, obliges the reader to carry on with the story to find out the meaning of 'the Speckled Band.' From the beginning of the story, Wells tells the reader that the visitor in The Stolen Bacillus has evil designs. In the second paragraph, the visitor is described as being pale-faced, in contrast with the bacteriologist, and not being accustomed to using a microscope. ...read more.


On the sixth page, the anarchist accidentally breaks the phial of cholera while inside the cab. Yet again Wells writes in a factual way, the sentences are long and tedious, so any tension or suspense that could have been brought about in the reader dwindle into nothing, drowned out by the bulk surrounding the important part in each sentence. The anarchist does not seem to mind that he has just practically killed himself, indeed is relieved that he will be the first to die of it. He has no blatant reactions to the broken phial, which could have created tension. On the seventh page, once the bacteriologist has found out that the anarchist has drunk the 'cholera', 'a smile hung in the corner of his mouth'. A more shocked and anxious expression would have better suited the occasion, so immediately the reader starts to consider the seriousness of it all, and when the bacteriologist explains to his wife that it was not cholera, the very last traces of tension in the reader are replaced with an emotion of regret that they have read the whole story, which ends so terribly. The Adventure of the Speckled Band is structured totally differently. It is written by Conan Doyle as if by Watson, so all you read is what Watson believes to be true, so the reader is also compelled to make the mistakes that Watson makes, and realise the truth when he does also. ...read more.


They are waiting in complete darkness, with crying birds outside and the whining of the cheetah in the garden. These help add to the tension and suspense in the reader already created by the knowledge that something important and exciting is going to happen. During the chaos of the following events, Conan Doyle keeps the reader tense with teasing clues as to the meaning of the speckled band, as well as the scream from the doctor's room. As soon as the reader realises that the speckled band is indeed a snake, any built up tension is lost as the story meets its climax. It is perhaps a disappointing end as a more exciting meaning of the speckled band is expected from the reader after such a build up. 1 The Stolen Bacillus: Page 1. Paragraph 7. 2 The Stolen Bacillus: Page 1. Paragraph 4. 3 The Stolen Bacillus: Page 2. Paragraph 2. 4 The Stolen Bacillus: Page 2. Paragraph 2. 5 The Stolen Bacillus: Page 3. Paragraph 3. 6 The Stolen Bacillus: Page 3. Paragraph 4. 7 The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 2. Paragraph 9. 8 The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 8. Paragraph 1. 9 The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 8. Paragraph 1. 10The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 8. Paragraph 1. 11The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 11. Paragraph 6. 12The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 11. Paragraph 6. 13The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 20. Paragraph 13. 14The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Page 21. Paragraph 4. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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