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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1197 words

HOW DOES CONAN DOYLE CREATE SUSPENSE IN HIS STORIES

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

HOW DOES CONAN DOYLE CREATE SUSPENSE IN HIS STORIES? The detective genre is very popular among the public and there are many books, films and television programs based on it that, according to research, are more popular with women than with men. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was writing in the 1880's, uses a variety of techniques to produce suspense in his Sherlock Holmes stories, all of which are vital for the creation of tension. All of his stories are structured in a similar way: at the beginning the reader is given a very detailed account of the crime, then Holmes and Watson investigate the scene of the crime, and finally right at the end of the story the solution is provided by Holmes and all becomes clear: 'It means that it is all over'. This structural technique keeps the reader guessing for the majority of the story, leaving the reader in suspense until all is revealed at the end. This is good because the reader is (usually) given all of the clues and has a chance to play the role of the detective to try and solve the crime, usually without success, which makes it more interesting, and the reader is kept in suspense for most of the story.

Middle

In the paragraphs that follow there is an effective use of detail. Holmes and Watson sit in 'absolute darkness', unsure of what is to come and left to rely on other sense apart from sight, emphasising smell and hearing. Setting the scene in darkness makes it more alarming and nervy, particularly since it is described in first person narration through Watson. To show that lots of time is passing by Arthur Conan Doyle slows the writing down by slowing down events, for example when the parish clock 'boomed out every quarter of an hour', Watson's description of the quarter hours passing by is very slowed down: 'twelve o'clock, and one, and two, and three, and still we sat waiting silently for whatever might befall' - the writing is slowed down with the use of commas and the word 'and'. After this the writing suddenly speeds up when the action is taking place, and the action is emphasised by the use of appropriate adverbs and verbs, such as 'suddenly', 'sprung' and 'seized'. By this point the tension is at boiling point but suddenly, as quickly as it started, the action stops and the truth is uncovered.

Conclusion

However, it proceeds quite calmly for a while as they are following the footprints. I think that the most tension in this part of the story is when Holmes has spoken to the trainer who stole the horse, 'Shall we argue about it here in public, or talk it over in your parlour?' and Watson, like the reader, is ignorant in regard to what has happened, which is suspenseful but also quite irritating as we have now been given all of the clues but still can't work out what has happened. However, all is revealed when Watson asks 'He has the horse, then?' and Holmes explains to him what has happened. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's style of writing is extremely sophisticated, witty, puzzling and successful. Although the structure of the stories is very similar, the storylines differ immensely and despite using the same technique of structure throughout, his stories do not become boring. In conclusion, his techniques of creating suspense are effective, with tension being built into some sections and into the structure of the stories and only broken at the end, and this suspense in his stories makes them interesting and fun to read. ?? ?? ?? ??

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