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The Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter comparison

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Wide reading assignment: Comparison between: "The Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the Slaughter" In this assignment, I am going to compare the two murder mystery stories: "Lamb to the Slaughter', written in 1954 by Roald Dahl, and 'The Speckled Band', written in 1892 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although both books are from the same genre, they have many differences. I will comment on these differences, and any similarities between the stories, and then come to conclusions based upon the comments I make. The main thing to remember when comparing the two books is the fact that they were written at different times. This means that the language used, and the way in which this language is used, will be different in each book. For example, we see that in 'The Speckled Band', that the sentences are generally much longer than the modern day sentences, used in 'Lamb to the Slaughter'. For example, we see that Dr. Watson says "It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light, for I have reasons to know there are widespread rumours to the death of Dr Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth". This sentence is extremely long, which is made worse by the fact that there is only one comma in it, meaning that we can't pause for breath when we say it. ...read more.


This suggests that the rest of the book would be thrilling, and gripping, but the introduction was there, so that the events that would happen later could be outlined first. I can back this up, because Watson starts to tell us what happened in this case in the very next paragraph. In reflection, I will say that 'The Speckled Band' has the better introduction, simply because it seems as if it serves a purpose - with it leading up to later events. However, both introductions aren't gripping, which means that readers don't have an incentive to read on. Moving on from the introductions of the books, I will now look at the book endings. 'The Speckled Band' is lacklustre, quite frankly. The solution of the case is revealed in the ending, which means that we don't have any kind of ending that is enthralling, or that has a climax. I think that Conan Doyle should have attempted to try and tell us the answer, but with an enthralling ending. For example, he could have explained how he solved the mystery, and then have the scene with the snake slithering through the ventilator, trying to kill Helen Stoner. This would have made the ending more gripping. In 'Lamb to the slaughter', I think that the ending was much more nerve-wracking and mysterious than in 'The Speckled Band'. ...read more.


On the other hand, Dr. Grimesby Roylott is portrayed as being a much tougher person. When he spoke, Watson described his words as being "snarled," which suggests that he isn't a good person to talk to. He also: "stepped swiftly forwards, seized a poker, and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands," in the course of the story, which says two things. Firstly, it describes the fact that he has the brute strength to bend a poker, which requires strength. But secondly, it describes him as having "huge brown hands," which suggests that he generally has a large body, capable of killing anyone. In contrast to Mary Maloney, Roylott seems much more capable of killing someone, as he is portrayed as being an evil character. Overall, I enjoyed reading how Holmes responded to events, and how quickly he deduced information from clues that he had, but I also liked the entertainment we get from 'Lamb to the Slaughter'. I enjoyed both books, but I think that 'Lamb to the Slaughter' has to be the more compelling, simply because we didn't know what to expect next when reading it, and it seemed a lot easier to be gripped by it, whereas in 'The Speckled Band' we could correctly assume what would happen next. 1 ...read more.

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