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Lamb to the Slaughter - The Speckled Band

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Introduction

Lamb to the Slaughter - The Speckled Band The similarities of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are evident throughout both stories, although some are found deep beneath the surface, hidden well by their authors, but delve deep into the worlds of Mary Maloney and Sherlock Holmes and the answers are provided, clear as day. The characters in both 'Lamb to the slaughter' and 'The speckled band' are portrayed by the authors of each story respectively as, in Mary Maloney's case in 'Lamb to the slaughter' as an easy target, a very passive woman and in actual fact this is far from the actual truth, as she is a murderer. Whilst 'The speckled band' plays centre stage for Sherlock Holmes, who acts out his role of typical detective with the trademark pipe, cap and magnifying glass props included (although Holmes is excused as this stereotype is one he helped build). It's these stereotypes that build the structure of the short stories, Maloney's of shock and disbelief over what she is capable of doing and covering up, this shows a character immensely diverse from the reader's first impression of Mrs Maloney; "Her skin - for this was her sixth month with child - had acquired a wonderful translucent quality, the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look, seemed larger, darker than before." This backs up Maloney's first impression of being the ironic 'typical victim' of the story, the emphasis on the size of Mary's eyes show innocence and a sense of being na�ve on the soon-to-be widow. ...read more.

Middle

Miss Helen Stoner heard a metallic clang, which might have been caused by one of those metal bars which secured the shutters falling back into their place, I think there is good ground to think that the mystery may be cleared along those lines." Although Sherlock is satisfied with the information provided by Helen Stoner and has roughly generated this into a logical explanation to the mystery, we, the readers are still in much doubt as to the cause and motive of the murder. The old house mysterious and dark as it is reflects the mood of the story at this point perfectly and leads us into desperation as to what actually did go down on that fateful night. Another similarity or link between the two stories is the way each author makes the reader want to ultimately read on. Both Roald Dahl and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle do this superbly. Dahl does this differently to Doyle, but both generate the same effect, although the methods they use are easily distinguished as diverse. Roald Dahl focuses mainly on language and a unique style of writing used only by Dahl himself, which not only sets him apart from other authors as an undisputed legend, but is actually comfortable to read. Descriptive writing is one medium Dahl takes pleasure in using in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' amongst other Roald Dahl stories. It's these descriptions that builds a stable structure, which interests the reader and inevitably makes us want to read on. Dahl's method is cunning aswell as enjoyable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once again, Holmes didn't disappoint us by solving the case. He picked up on the detail much forgotten by myself, the fact that Dr Roylott, Miss Stoner's father had a collection of animals inspired by his work in India. Once Sherlock had studied the room in which the death of Helen Stoner's sister had taken place, he had it in mind that a venomous snake was the culprit. This was in fact the reality of the matter and Sherlock had saved the day again. The way in which Holmes solved the case, as always provided the superb story we have come to expect from Doyle. "Some of the blows of my cane came home, and roused its snakish temper, so that it flew upon the first person it saw. In this way I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr Grimesby Roylott's death, and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience." These final sentences of the story, not only demonstrate Holmes' renowned intelligence, but wit as he printed a smile on my face with the final quip about the doctor's death weighing on his conscience. The ending had me imagining a film adaptation of the story, Sherlock stepping from view, leaving a bemused Watson to follow, trusty notepad in hand, as credits rolled across the screen. To say what my favourite ending was would be unfair as I am evidently a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, but both stories were fantastic and worth the hour or so I spent on each. ...read more.

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