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"How does Conan Doyle create a sense of anticipation and suspense in the Adventure of the Speckled Band?"

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Pre-1914 Prose Assignment "How does Conan Doyle create a sense of anticipation and suspense in the Adventure of the Speckled Band?" The Adventure of the Speckled Band is a classic mystery novel. It is so in the way that it uses several writing techniques to create a sense of ambiguity and vagueness. Conan Doyle makes sure to leave the reader with as little information as possible and to make it hard to foresee what will happen next. This is all to have them anticipate the ending and the solving of the mystery, to keep them gripped. Even the very title of the novel is unclear and does well to conjure up ideas inside the readers mind. It is only until the whole story is took in and the ending is unveiled that the reader can fully appreciate and understand what exactly the 'Speckled Band' is. Conan Doyle starts by introducing the character of Sherlock Holmes by using Watson as a first person narrator to tell the story. Watson can be seen as a means of understanding Sherlock Holmes' thoughts. By using Watson as someone Sherlock can talk to, we can get a better perception of what goes on in his mind. He also uses Watson as a sort of ordinary person, who, like the reader, also attempts to solve the mystery alongside Sherlock Holmes. ...read more.


He throws these into the story to direct the readers' attention away from the central issue. After describing her stepfather, Helen then goes on to talk about her sister's death and the mystery surrounding it, which she wants Sherlock Holmes to solve. She explains about how she knew her stepfather had gone to bed early, but had not slept. Also, that she had heard a low whistle followed by a metallic clang and, after hearing the scream of her sister, approached her room where she saw the door swinging on it's hinges after she had heard her lock it. The reader is successfully drawn into the task of trying to solve the mystery and so Conan Doyle manages to keep their interest and attention. They will start to follow the Sherlock Holmes' method of deduction and try to piece together the clues. When Holmes declares that he plans to personally inspect the rooms at Stoke Moran, the reader will anticipate this chance to discover more clues. When Roylott makes his entrance to Baker Street, Conan uses this as a means to conclude on the suggestions about him. He is describes as being a huge man, who fills the doorway. This gives the impression that he is both powerful and dangerous. He was swinging around a hunting crop, which could be used as a weapon. ...read more.


Also, the reader is reminded one last time of the dangers when what appears to be "A hideous and distorted child" appears out of the dark of Roylott's garden, which then turns out to be only his pet baboon. This is a very powerful and shocking line and ultimately finishes off the structure of the scary atmosphere Conan tries to build. Holmes and Watson must then sit in total silence and darkness for hours. To emphasize the danger that they are in, Watson has his revolver placed on the table at the ready and Holmes has a cane in his hand. After what is a long time for the pair, the creepy mood is broken by rudiments of the clues that the reader has been struggling to piece together. There is a momentary gleam of light from the false ventilation shaft and a smell of burning oil wafts through. After a further 30 minutes, a hissing noise is then heard when Holmes jumps into action, swishing his cane at the bell-rope. Then, the whistle that both women had commented on and a blood-curdling scream are heard from Roylott's room. After going to investigate, Holmes and Watson find that the speckled band is actually a swamp adder, the deadliest snake in India. Finally, the mystery is revealed, and the last page is dedicated to explaining in further detail how exactly Sherlock Holmes pieced together all the clues. All these things successfully create a feeling of anticipation and suspense in the reader. Jack Whitehead Pre-1914 Prose Assignment ...read more.

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