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Examine the settings which Arthur Conan Doyle has chosen for his stories in "The Speckled Band" and "The Man with the Twisted Lip". Consider the effects the writer has created and how they contribute to the atmosphere.

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Introduction

Examine the settings which Arthur Conan Doyle has chosen for his stories in "The Speckled Band" and "The Man with the Twisted Lip". Consider the effects the writer has created and how they contribute to the atmosphere. Arthur Conan Doyle's character, Sherlock Holmes, lived in Victorian London during the 19th century. His perception of the streets is portrayed as a dark and isolated environment. The atmosphere was far from welcoming. The streets were overrun with crime, beggars and prostitutes. Through the dense smog, the gas lamps provided feeble lighting which flickered as passer-bys walked on their way. The odour which drifted through the air was vile. This was the result of no sewage system and low levels of hygiene. In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', Arthur Conan Doyle creates a contrast by describing the home of Watson which is conveyed as a warm, welcoming safe-haven. The Watsons are portrayed as a secure and predictable couple. Their sitting room, described as "cheery", shows the reader that it is a place where all is cosy and peaceful. The reader is shown that Watson is comfortable with the setting of his own home: "...sat up in my chair" The use of the word 'my' gives the sense of belonging and ownership to Watson. ...read more.

Middle

Using a ship to compare the opium den may show that it is a place that can take you to another location mentally. Not necessarily a good one, as the effects of opium can make someone dazed and unaware of their surroundings. Therefore, the opium den is a place which can transport a person's mental state of mind, hence the ship. The opium itself is mentioned as: "burning poison, waxed or waned" Burning is a connotation of hell and makes the reader envisage blazing fire. The reader is aware that it is a harmful substance, when described as a 'poison'. The opium 'waned' can also be said for the atmosphere. It is gradually getting weaker as everyone loses their dignity and state of mind. The 'Speckled Band' contains few references to safe, positive settings. This may be to give an overall effect of darkness and mystery. Helen Stoner, clearly an unsettled woman, is brought into Holmes' welcoming home to be comforted. "Good Morning, Madam." Holmes says this in a "cheery" manner. Because it is in the morning, all should be fresh and ready for a new day. ...read more.

Conclusion

A similar impact is given before the attempt on Helen's life, whilst Holmes and Watson wait in: "gathering darkness". Such imagery suggests a great accumulation of doom, making the reader expect some form of tragedy to arise. An adjective such as 'gathering' highlights how slow and gradual the darkness is taking to fall upon them. To lighten the miserable atmosphere, Conan Doyle takes the characters on a journey where they travel through an idyllic setting. "with a bright sun and a few fleecy clouds" This quote represents bright and enhancing scenery. The 'fleecy' clouds are thought of as fluffy and light which lifts the weight from the intense situation. These points may be misleading towards the reader because they have been prepared for something catastrophic to happen. Holmes and Watson are struck by the, "sweet promise of the spring" The 'sweet promise' is a symbolism of new life and rejuvenation. However this is contrasted by the "sinister quest" which they embark upon. Also described by Conan Doyle as a "strange contrast". There are significant contrasts between the settings in both stories. To symbolize goodness, hope, or peace Conan Doyle uses the theme of light. In contrast he uses darkness as a connotation of hell or evil. When he refers to dark settings they are usually ominous signs. Anisah Kee- Scott 10K6 GCSE English Coursework ...read more.

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