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The speckled band - summary

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Introduction

The speckled band At the very beginning of the story, Dr. Watson introduces the case. He explains that he has only just been able to release details of this case because of the 'untimely death' of a lady to whom he vowed to keep the details secret. "It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light, for I have reason to know that there are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr. Grimesby Roylott which tends to make the matter even more terrible than the truth." Watson's introduction fills the reader with anticipation. His suggestion of the secrecy surrounding the case makes it seem more intriguing and his suggestion that the truth of it is in someway 'terrible' creates suspense as the reader awaits the descriptions of these so called terrors. Doyle has already managed to grip the reader, very subtly through giving the least amount of information possible. Little light is shed on the plot, at this point but the reader undoubtedly has their own ideas surrounding the contents of this case. This most probably was one of the tools many of the writers used at the time. ...read more.

Middle

The way in which Doyle uses characterization is significant and very important in short stories, through informational descriptions he gives, with underlying meanings, he is able to successfully create suspense, atmospheres and arouse anticipation in the reader. The atmosphere is uneasy at the start of the tale, Doyle has used a lot of emotive language making the readers identify with the poor victim Helen, we have been introduced to the repugnant Roylott and Helens situation seems desperate. We learn from Helena that hers sister died shortly before her marriage. Helen tells of the death, hers sisters state that night and the clues to her coincidental death. The daughters, Helen and her sister were to receive a dowry of the annual income of the mother in the event of their marriage. Sherlock later finds the will of the deceased mother and sees the exact sum. "Each daughter can claim an income of 250 pounds, in case of marriage. It is evident, therefore, that if both girls had married, this beauty would have had a mere pittance, while even one of them would cripple him to a very serious extent" From learning these facts, Doyle allows the readers' minds formulate their own conclusions, with the suggestion of the stepfather being the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Upon entering Dr. Roylott's room, and seeing the 'speckled band', only then does Sherlock tell. Now we learn of precisely the extent of Sherlock's intelligence. Although at the beginning of the story Holmes seemed almost super-human in his deduction of how the lady arrived. But these type of occurrences which continued throughout the story, caused the reader to marvel at the prowess of Holmes. Many of his observations don't have occurred to the average human . ' "Her sister could smell Dr Roylott's cigar . . . There must be a communication . . . Only a small one. . . I deduced a ventilator". This shows how successfully Doyle's uses characterization, With all the factors Doyle used he managed to give the best possible effect of the story upon the readers, along with this he also wrote the story in the first person. By writing in the first person as Watson, Doyle was able to give the full effect of the story to the readers, as if they themselves were present. The fact, that they were in darkness and Watson couldn't seem what Holmes' had discovered, keeps the tension and suspense built through the story. The anguish of anticipation the readers feel is only fulfilled at the end, the revelation of the mystery. ...read more.

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