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Explain what you learn about the roles of women and the differences in lifestyles from the stories 'A Scandal in Bohemia' and 'The Speckled Band'

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Introduction

Wednesday, 13th July, 2005 Explain what you learn about the roles of women and the differences in lifestyles from the stories 'A Scandal in Bohemia' and 'The Speckled Band' 'A Scandal in Bohemia' and 'The Speckled Band' are two short detective stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They are set in England in the mid 19th century. Both of the stories are narrated by Dr Watson, who is one of the main characters. The other main character is Sherlock Holmes and he is an amateur detective. Both stories have a main female character and I am going to compare these female characters by looking at their personalities and the circumstances in which they live in. In 'A Scandal in Bohemia', Irene Alder is the female character and she is a retired Opera singer. Helen Stoner, a landowner's daughter, is the female character in 'The Speckled Band'. 'A Scandal in Bohemia' is a story about the King of Bohemia. He asks Sherlock Holmes to help him to get a photograph back from the clever Irene Adler who is threatening to blackmail him with it. 'The Speckled Band' is a short story in which Helen Stoner, who lives with her cruel stepfather, comes to Sherlock Holmes to ask him to help her to solve a mystery regarding a 'speckled band'. ...read more.

Middle

However, Irene and Helen are both very kind and caring. Irene looked after Sherlock Holmes herself when he was hurt. Dr Watson tells of this - 'the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man'. Helen was very close to her sister who she calls her 'only companion'. In addition, Irene and Helen are both secretive. Helen is loyal to her father - she does not tell Sherlock Holmes about him and how meanly he has treated her. Irene guards the photograph very carefully. She does not do anything that will let the King of Bohemia find out where the photograph is kept, but Sherlock Holmes does manage to find out where she keeps it. Irene Alder lives in much better circumstances than Helen Stoner. Although Helen Stoner's family used to be 'among the richest in England', this is no longer the case. She now lives in one wing of a manor-house in Stoke Moran. The rest of the house is run down and cannot be lived in. On the other hand, Irene Adler's house is a 'bijou villa' that is well furnished. Helen Stoner is trapped - not only by her stepfather but also financially. ...read more.

Conclusion

We still like going to the theatre and this was the same with Victorian people. Another source of entertainment that we enjoy today and so did the Victorians is tennis. Lawn tennis became popular in the 1870s. Both men and women played it, although it was mainly played by middle-class women. It was adapted from the old indoor game of 'real' or 'royal' tennis. Finally, Victorians loved to throw parties, where they played games such as charades and watched firework displays. In conclusion, Helen Stoner is a typical Victorian woman. She does not work and is about to get married. The only work she has done is when she had to do the work around the house because no servants would stay. Conversely, Irene Adler is unusual. She is a retired opera singer, but she does get married in the story. Helen Stoner lives with her stepfather, which is what Victorian woman normally did until they got married. However, Irene Adler lives by herself in her well furnished house. Irene Adler has full control over her income. She can spend it on what she wants and can choose what she does with her money. Helen Stoner cannot do this because her stepfather, and then her husband, has control over her money. We know this because she tells Holmes that she cannot pay him for his services. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lo�s Temple ...read more.

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