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"The Adventure Of The Engineer's Thumb" and "The Destructors" are both crime stories - I am going to discuss the authors' contrasting approaches to story telling and to the subject of crime.

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English Coursework - Compare 2 stories "The Adventure Of The Engineer's Thumb" and "The Destructors" are both crime stories. I am going to discuss the authors' contrasting approaches to story telling and to the subject of crime. "The Adventure Of The Engineers Thumb" has a first person narrator: Dr Watson. This is a good choice of narrator because the reader is given the impression that as Watson is a doctor he can be trusted, this amplifies mystery and suspense; being Sherlock Holmes' assistant and dear friend, Watson is the stand in character for the reader. In the first paragraph of the story, Dr Watson explains that he will tell the story in such a way that "the facts slowly evolve before your own eyes and the mystery clears gradually away as each new discovery furnishes a step which leads on to the complete truth." He tells the story as an account of what happened, and not from his own point of view. This keeps the reader in suspense, right up until the mystery is solved at the end of the story. However, "The Destructors" has a third person narrator. This is a good choice of narrator for this story because there are always a lot of things going on. ...read more.


Even by the description of Colonel Lysander Stark, your first impression is of a cruel, harsh, military man. His appearance, German accent, and nature are all stereotype factors of a villain. This is shown to be true later on in the story when we find out that he is in fact a professional money forger. In "The Destructors", the portrayal of the children as villains committing such devastating vandalism is quite a surreal concept, as "nothing like it had ever been done before". The character of Old Misery is a combination of traits. He is depicted as, on one hand, a miserable old man, who is "too mean to spend money on the property", and on the other hand, a kind, generous man. "I got some chocolates, don't like 'em myself, here you are". In "The Adventure Of The Engineer's Thumb", Arthur Conan Doyle gets across the serious nature of forgery by the fact that one engineer has gone missing, "Lost on the 9th inst., Mr. Jeremiah Hayling, aged 26, a hydraulic engineer. Left his lodgings at ten o'clock at night, and has not been heard of since", and Mr Hatherley nearly lost his life as the forgers tried to hide their activities from the police, and society in general. ...read more.


"The Adventure Of The Engineer's Thumb" is the closest to this ending, as Sherlock Holmes solves the mystery, Mr Victor Hatherley has gained "Experience," and the criminals are never heard of again, which in some ways must satisfy the authorities. "The Destructors" though, has a very different ending as far as crime stories go: The criminals, or the kids get away, there are no authorities on the case, and Old Misery is left completely homeless. As you can see, these two crime stories are totally and utterly diverse: In "The Adventure Of The Engineer's Thumb" the criminals are professional adults, who are making a living out of what they do; suspense and drama is present throughout, as new clues and questions keep appearing; and there is some justice at the end, as the forgers are forced to flee as their house catches ablaze. In "The Destructors" the criminals are amateur kids, who are looking for "fame", and "respect". To prove themselves and to help accomplish this, they decide to pull down the last standing house on a bombsite; the readers' imagination is needed a lot during the story, as Graham Greene has focused on dialogue between the gang members and explaining what is going on, rather than using detailed descriptions to create suspense and intensity; and there is no justice - just a lorry driver, who finds the "childish prank" very humorous. ...read more.

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