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How does Arthur Conan Doyle build tension and atmosphere in 'The Speckled Band'

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Introduction

How does Arthur Conan Doyle build tension/suspense and atmosphere in "The Speckled Band"? Arthur Conan Doyle used the character named Sherlock Holmes to create a murder mystery genre short story. He uses the clever, sly and mysterious character to capture the readers. At the time the stories were written the Victorians were very frightened of crime because the police at the time weren't stopping crime as they should, also at the time the fearsome "Jack the Ripper" was loose on the slums of London, so this new character brought some relief to the frightened citizens. At the time the police were failing to commit to there job and stop the crime that was taking place. This meant there was a lot of fear about crime around because the people of London had no force to protect themselves from the evil on the streets. At this time Arthur Conan Doyle tapped into this idea and created Holmes, this gave relief to the readers. Doyle had to use one of the main techniques in a murder mystery story to keep the story alive, keeping tension and suspense at a high throughout. Towards the start of the mystery Doyle builds up the idea of the story by showing the idea of fear in Helen Stoner. ...read more.

Middle

It is terror". This shows that something is frightening her. We then find out that she needs Holmes to help her. She looks like a "hunted animal" and this shows that she has been through a lot. We see that the way her character is shown to be a typical Victorian woman. Vulnerable, afraid, fragile and unable to defend herself. This shows that the story keeps on fitting into the genre of murder mystery. In the day it was written people reading the story would very easily be able to relate to her as a character and this give more effect to the story as a reader. We are also told about how she looks very old, but is very young, and how the fear she has because of Dr Roylott has made her look almost elderly. We can see that Sherlock Holmes is portrayed to be a very clever and calm gentleman. We can see he is a very observant man, and is very quick to think things through, this would make the readers feel relieved for Helen Stoner because they would know from this point that he is smart enough to crack the mystery. The way he talks to her as if he already knows the answers to his questions shows him to be a very smart man. ...read more.

Conclusion

They also would be frightened that he had killed his butler in Africa. This would worry the public because at the time the police force weren't doing there job very well and this made the public very worried about crime. In the final section the main contrast that is noticeable is the change between the light. The light is dark and all is silent. But when some light flashes in the room the tension automatically begins building up. As the tension builds further the light begins to come through the air shaft and this creates even further tension. When the Idea of time is linked with the idea of changing light, this build the tension because the time seems to slow down as the light builds in the final part of the story. In the entire story builds tension well, the way it all takes place in a short amount of time shows urgency in the situation and makes the reader feel tense. The language he uses is good for building the tension because he uses words that give a feel of urgency and danger. I think the story builds tension well because the way it was written to fit in with Victorian ideas makes people see how the story was meant to effect the reader. ...read more.

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