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Paying close attention to the author's use of language, compare and contrast at least three elements in the short stories "The Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle and "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl

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Introduction

Paying close attention to the author's use of language, compare and contrast at least three elements in the short stories The Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter. The two stories I am comparing and contrasting are Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl and The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle. Lamb to the slaughter was written in 1953, seventy one years after The Speckled Band, which was written in 1982. The genre of the two stories is murder mystery. Roald Dahl is famous for both children's and adult's stories. His stories contain a lot of irony and humour which is also in Lamb to the Slaughter. Arthur Conan Doyle is a famous for the stories about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. His stories are more serious and complex aimed mainly at adults. The Speckled Band is another of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. The story is told in both past and present tense. It is in first person narrative and told as seen through the eyes of Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes's accomplice. ...read more.

Middle

The word "always" is used before or after a word in the past tense again creating the feeling that things are different or about to change. This creates tension for the reader, who knows something terrible is about to happen. The introduction in The Speckled Band doesn't start in the same way that Lamb to the Slaughter does. You are already told that the inspector in the story only investigated unusual and mysterious cases. The case that the story concerns is quoted. The story is in first person narrative, so a lot more information is disclosed about the murder case before the murder story is told properly. The sentences, "he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual" and "but a promise of secrecy was made at the time" create a lot of tension and excitement for the reader. You begin to wonder what the investigation might concern and why these cases were so secret. Tension is created throughout the entire of Lamb to the slaughter by sentences like, "and as he spoke, he did an unusual thing", the repetition of the word "no" by Patrick Maloney, the constant reminder of Mary Maloney's "large bewildered eyes". ...read more.

Conclusion

This is shown in the following lines, "that's why it ought to be easy to find", personally, I think it's right here on the premises", "probably right under our very noses". These lines are also ironic, as the murder weapon was still on the premises and right under their noses, but they weren't to know, they were too foolish to see it. In conclusion, of the two stories The Speckled Band was more formal and typical to the murder genre than Lamb to the Slaughter which seemed more comical. The Speckled Band is targeted mainly at adults due to its complexity and Lamb to the Slaughter at adults and children due to its humorous and easier language. The motive of The Speckled Band is to provide suspicion and make the reader think more whereas Lamb to the Slaughter motive is to provide a humorous take to murder. Both are told in two different narratives, The Speckled Band in first person and Lamb to the Slaughter in third person. Tension was created in both, but more so in The Speckled Band due to its complexity. Personally I preferred Lamb to the Slaughter because of its humour. In truth it wasn't typical to the murder mystery genre but none the less was fun to read. ...read more.

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