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Examine the techniques used to engage the reader in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The speckled band' making close reference to his other short stories.

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Introduction

Examine the techniques used to engage the reader in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The speckled band' making close reference to his other short stories In the gripping murder mystery 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' we see how the well-known author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has cunningly devised suspense in a variety of different ways. Conan Doyles short stories are structured to fit the mystery, murder and occasionally gothic genre and by achieving this he uses a detective format in the Victorian era. This applies in "The Speckled band", it is a typical mystery murder story in which a crime needs solving as someone is in need of help, in order to prevent a death. Sherlock Holmes stories were appealing during Victorian and Edwardian times due to his talented variety of techniques and the way they could relate to his stories. Furthermore we should remember that many people during Victorian and Edwardian times believed that Sherlock Holmes did exist and for them the fact that Holmes always finds the criminal gave a sense of security. Many people felt they could live their lives dangerously. ...read more.

Middle

The effect of this technique is we are often making our own judgements of the case, because we want to find out whom the villain actually is this amplifies mystery and tension. However in some of his stories Conan Doyle cunningly creates characters that we expect to be a villain but turn out to be innocent. The reason for this is just his attempt to confuse and mislead us. For example in 'The man with the twisted lip' the character Isa misleads us from the start he is used to introduce the location for the case. This is another example of a redherring that the author has used to intrigue us. The impact of this is that we are often surprised why we were misled or we have a sense of achievement because the device did not mislead us. Throughout the beginning of the story the credibility of the narrator, Dr Watson, is built up to ensure a relationship of trust between him and the reader. This means that everything he says is instantly believable and this amplifies the mystery and suspense. ...read more.

Conclusion

The readers' first impression of Helen Stoner is that she is grieving over someone's death, due to her appearance. She is "dressed in black and heavily veiled". The reader is encouraged to feel sympathy for Helen Stoner and anxious to find out who has died and how, as she is clearly in mourning. The simile used to portray her fear and agitation suggests she is weak and vulnerable, maybe even the next victim. These are typical features of the Gothic genre, a helpless women in danger with nobody to seek help from. "Restless frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal" This powerful simile conveys to the reader how she is being "hunted" like some kind of prey. This assists in building up tension and suspense, as the reader is unaware of the details of the death, it is still a mystery. Conan Doyle's use of nouns, when Helen is speaking suggests how scared she is. "It is fear, Mr Holmes. It is terror" This displays that either Helen Stoner is exaggerating the situation, or something terrible has happened to cause this extreme horror. The reader is intrigued, as it is not yet understandable why she is so upset. Therefore the nouns used create suspense, by controlling the emotions of the reader. ...read more.

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