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"Examine How Two Different Authors have used the Detective Story Genre in Different Ways and to different effects"

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Introduction

"Examine How Two Different Authors have used the Detective Story Genre in Different Ways and to different effects" "The Speckled Band" is a short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published in 1892. "Lamb to the Slaughter" is another short story, written by Roald Dahl in the mid-20th Century. These two stories are both examples of the "Detective story Genre" but they are different in many respects as well as similar to establish differences in literary effect. I will compare these two stories to show the range of storytelling in this genre. In "The Speckled Band", the crime committed is a murder; the crime committed in "Lamb to the Slaughter" is also a murder. The weapon used to carry out the crime was a snake, this is shown when Sherlock Holmes on finding the weapon says, "A swamp adder...the deadliest snake in India". The weapon in Dahl's story is a frozen leg of lamb, "...she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down on his head". It would appear in Doyle's piece that the murder seems much more exotic whereas in Dahl's story is a lot more simple. I think this is so because during the time Doyle wrote the piece, Britain, the country of origin possessed a large empire. ...read more.

Middle

Personification is used here, "The wind was howling..." to show how a natural occurrence can have human and eerie substance. "Mrs Hudson has been knocked up, she retorted upon me, and I on you". The sentence structure is very correct, it seems too correct for everyday use, especially for modern times. But in the "Lamb to the Slaughter", the language is simple and informal and vocabulary isn't large. Modern conveniences like a "Thermos bucket" and informal words like "strongish" are used with a lot of Americanisms. Feminism in the Victorian age was virtually non-existent, as can be seen with some of the characters. It wasn't till the earlier parts of the 20th Century that feminism started to appear. Women were allowed to vote after the Victorian age, this was because their ideals were that a woman should stay at home and knit whilst the man made the money. After the Second World War, feminism was on the increase after the men went to war whilst the women looked after Britain. It is reflected in the character Mary Maloney, who is pregnant yet can overthrow her husband. Being a mother is a symbol of strength and feminism and to be that strong to be a single mother shows she has courage. ...read more.

Conclusion

The entertainment is not driven in how the actual crime was committed as in "The Speckled Band". But rather the entertainment lies in how she deals with the murder of her husband, her alibi how she deals with the murder weapon. The audience enjoys examining how people cope with these situations; they want to sympathise and emulate the action so they can really feel a part of it. And the character of Mary Maloney is originally made out to be a simple housewife; "Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work". And she is seen as a clean living person; "There was a slow smiling air about her, and about everything she did." And her husband develops as the "criminal" when he responds to his wife who is carrying child with commands like "Sit down" as if she were his servant. The audience would recognise this and be questioned whether her action of killing her husband was just, we never find out the reason so we move on assumptions that it was just. Our own morals and ideals are put to the test and when it ends on a sinister note, it makes the reader ponder whether she shouldn't have killed where it ends on; "And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle". The reader now begins to question is she really who we think she is? We don't really know her and do we really know anyone? ...read more.

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