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How do The Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and I'll be Waiting by Raymond Chandler reflect the eras in which they were writtten?

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Introduction

HOW DO THE SPECKLED BAND AND I'LL BE WAITING REFLECT THE ERAS IN WHICH THEY WERE WRITTEN? The two stories I aim to compare are The Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and I'll be Waiting by Raymond Chandler. They are both short stories of the detective genre, but they were written in very different eras for very different audiences. I intend to ascertain how they reflect the moods of these �poques. The first story is a popular Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle called The Speckled Band, which was written in the Victorian age. This was a very confident and prosperous time, when the British Empire was at its height, and the mood of the people was one of confidence and national pride, often straying into arrogance. The characters, especially Holmes, the plot and the setting all reflect this self-assured time. One of the literary styles that the Victorian appreciated was Gothic Tales. Examples would be Edgar Allan Poe, or Mrs. Radcliffe's Udolpho. These usually followed a specific pattern. Gothic Tales were macabre and fantastic, with unusual plots. The exotic and foreign were often used, such as gypsies and cheetahs in the Speckled Band. The unusual combination of violent murders and picturesque settings complement each other beautifully. For example, the murder was committed in an attractive, secluded mansion in Western Surrey. Also, there is a melodramatic villain, Dr Grimesby-Roylott, and a stereotypical, obvious plot. ...read more.

Middle

The two confront each other only once, with Holmes naturally coming out on top. This was when Grimesby-Roylott challenged Holmes in his Baker Street office. Holmes is undaunted by his enemy's aggressive attitude, and shows utter contempt to his threats. This is demonstrated when he ridicules the aggressive Grimesby-Roylott: "What has she been saying to you?" screamed the old man furiously. "But I have heard that the crocuses promise well," continued my companion imperturbably. Grimesby-Roylott then attempts to use his strength to scare the composed Holmes. He bends a poker then hurls it into the fire. Holmes, unconcerned, then picks the poker up and unbends it with ease: "I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own." This reinforces the idea of Holmes' superiority over everyone else. This symbolism is a precursor to the end of the tale, and the reader knows that Holmes will eventually prevail over his enemy. In I'll be Waiting, there is no arch villain, hinting at the corruptness of the times. However, when Reseck meets with another character, Al, he is insulted, and in the end is seen to be inferior. Al calls Tony his "little fat brother", which is obviously derogatory. Reseck does not have the same superiority over others as Holmes, which shows how different the times and self-esteem of the characters are. As well as the heroes that are portrayed in the stories, the language and accents that are used also depict the eras. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that Tony sits in the chair that he sat in at the start of the story, indicates a theme of circularity, life goes on. This can be extended to the elk's tooth; he is holding it in his hand at the beginning and the end. This serene attitude towards his surroundings, family and general life reflects the era superbly. This sad end shows the times, where people were accustomed to failure, and a triumphant victory was never expected nor well received. In conclusion, both stories reflect the eras in which they were written. One is set in prosperous Victorian England, where the spirits of the people were high. This is reflected in the story, with triumphant characters, most notably Holmes. He is confidant bordering on arrogant. Many people of that time could relate to his feelings of distain at those inferior to him. The language he uses, as well as the setting in which he is depicted, show this superiority. On the contrary, Reseck works in a seedy location where the people he meets are depressed. He is an introvert loner, who works in a hotel in the downtown area of a large city. The 1930's people could relate to that, as they were in the same situation, yet could be inspired by his successful work. He reflects a downcast and disheartened society going through a very unhappy time. Doyle's tale has a dynamic story line, whereas Chandler's lacks energy. This is another subtle way in which Chandler reflects the monotonous era he depicts. In summary, both stories reflect the respective eras in which they were written, using both subtle and obvious methods. ...read more.

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