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Examine the Victorian stories

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Examine the Victorian stories "The Man with the Twisted Lip", "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", and "The Red Room". Consider the effects that each writer has created and how they add to the plot, setting and atmosphere. The Victorian era was a time of great change; industrialisation, imperialism, scientific discovery. These changes reflect in the new topics of contemporary literature. In this essay I am going to look at the effect created by Arthur Conan Doyle and H G Wells in three short stories, analysing how this effect has added to the plot, setting and atmosphere. In order to fully understand the ideas behind these short stories it is detrimental to overcome our ignorance of past culture. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was surrounded by a London of crime. The police force was almost totally ineffective and the idea of a super detective, able to solve every crime was comforting to the populace. John Dean the philosopher once said "People believe what they want to believe." It sounds so simple yet in practice it represents a huge part if how the human works. For example if I were to prank call someone and tell him/her that she had won tickets for a two week holiday in Australia, he/she would believe me because they wanted it to be true. In relation to Sherlock Holmes, I feel the populace of the time were trying to imagine an actual Sherlock Holmes, as a psychological defence against the criminal life of London. ...read more.


However his popularity was such that by Royal Decree of Her Majesty Queen Victoria Sherlock Holmes was set to return. This Red Herring could be a testimony to telling the reader just who was in charge of Sherlock Holmes, coincidence perhaps but maybe a reason for Conan Doyle's straying from the norm. The creation of this red herring is not something a find adds to the book, I feel its just a page of dull waffle, it does nothing to interest me the reader, for if it weren't for Conan Doyle's acclaim and previous works, I am sure I would have not continued to read the book. The entrance to the Red Room is quite abrupt, using prose as the opening sentence; "I can assure you that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me," you can also see how Wells immediately begins his theme, in comparison to the slightly more leisurely starts of Conan Doyle. This I feel is not common among literature however it serves Wells story well for I think he intended to throw you into the deep end if you like, trying to prevent the reader time to reflect, draw conclusions as to why Wells is writing this story, spoiling the shock he wanted at the end. As Conan Doyle begins to move his story, we usually see the tell tale signal of a client Holmes conference, in which Doyle takes the opportunity to express the knowledge of Holmes to his reader and begin his tale. ...read more.


or through the slums of London looking for Neville St Clair's assassin, but Conan Doyle also wants in trepidation, who is the murder?, kind of attitude. This brings me onto my next point, how do the authors work with the feelings of the reader in creating these effects? The Red Room, I feel would have had a better effect on a 19 century reader for the reader will belong to a religious generation, an era of great fear of the supernatural whereas today it is accepted that there are no such things as ghosts. I think Wells worked with this audience, building on beliefs that the reader already had, aiding his creation of his desired atmosphere. Conan Doyle similarly was working with an audience gripped with fear of Jack the Ripper, a London of crime. So when Sherlock Holmes is walking through the East End of London, the reader will already experience fear in relation to Jack the Ripper, rather than any foreboding description. This is the case more so in The Man with the Twisted Lip, for the reader has more to reflect with, for practically everybody would have understood the squalor of East London but not the Mansion inhabited by Gypsies, wild animals and a passionately argumentative doctor. Another way authors choose to increase dramatic potential of their tales is to use these descriptive passages in conjunction with characters, not just setting. HG Wells has done this to an extent; "I caught a glimpse of myself, abbreviated and broadened to an impossible sturdiness in the queer old mirror", "My mind reverted to the three old and distorted people downstairs, their very existence spectral. ...read more.

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