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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses many literary devices to convey an impression of suspense and mystery. They are placed throughout the story to ensure that the reader is always guessing as to what happens next.

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses many literary devices to convey an impression of suspense and mystery. They are placed throughout the story to ensure that the reader is always guessing as to what happens next. The primary device that Doyle uses is a combination of melodrama and academic writing. The latter is used in abundance with touches of the former to ensure that the reader is not put off at any point. Furthermore, it ensures a sense of realism which makes the mystery much more intense. Doyle's academic style can be seen from the very first sentence of the story when he states: "Of all the problems, which have been to my friend Mr Sherlock Holmes for solution..." Coupled with academic writing is understatement when he writes, "At the time the circumstances made a deep impression upon me, and the lapse of two years has hardly served to weaken the effect." Melodrama can be observed from the statement, "[it] was so strange in its inception and so dramatic in its details..." Throughout the beginning of the story the credibility of the narrator, Dr Watson, is built up to ensure a relationship of trust between him and the reader. ...read more.


And, even if they believe me, the clues which I can give them are so vague that it is a question whether justice will be done.'" In order to further amplify this image created by Doyle, conversation is short, sharp and factual to make sure that only facts are conveyed to the reader so that he or she can make up his or her own mind about what's happening. Doyle doesn't force his opinions on them and this makes it more realistic. An example of this type of conversation is this exchange between Holmes and the engineer: "'One horse?' interjected Holmes. 'Yes, only one.' 'Did you observe the colour?' 'Yes, I saw it by the sidelights when I was stepping into the carriage. It was chestnut. 'Tired-looking or fresh?' 'Oh, fresh and glossy.' 'Thank you. I am sorry to have interrupted you. Pray continue your most interesting statement.'" This is another example of the factual nature that the conversations take. The engineer seems to be telling everything he knows and this makes him much more believable. ...read more.


He has a German accent, which was (and still is) a very common nationality for stereotypical villains of stories such as this. From the very beginning, he is described as emaciated, paranormal and above all inhuman - the image of death. These qualities can be seen from Doyle's description of Stark: "...a man rather over the middle size but of an exceeding thinness. I do not think that I have ever seen so thin a man. His whole face sharpened away into nose and chin, and the skin of his cheeks was drawn quite tense over his outstanding bones. Yet this emaciation seemed to be his natural habit, and due to no disease, for his eye was bright, his step brisk, and his bearing assured." In conclusion, I will say that using all these devices, Doyle successfully builds up curiosity and hence mystery and intrigue. Using little but heavy description, he is able to build up a powerful image that has the ability to shock the reader into submission. It is, for the most part, instantly believable and this serves the purpose of lulling the reader into a false sense of security. When the whole truth is finally revealed it is ever more vivid and much more successful in entertaining the reader. ...read more.

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