• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To compare and contrast how two authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from the 19th century and Alan Bennett from the 20th century, treat the subject of murder. Which do you find the most successful treatment and why?

Extracts from this document...


Wider Reading Coursework By Catherine Task: To compare and contrast how two authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from the 19th century and Alan Bennett from the 20th century, treat the subject of murder. Which do you find the most successful treatment and why? Both texts are written in the first person, from the viewpoints of different people connected with the crime, and from the point of view of an outsider in each situation/ someone who doesn't fully know what is happening themselves. In the Speckled Band the genre is being described from Watson's point of view, and it is written as an account of his past. It is this point of view he uses to portray evidence as he finds it out. As he isn't the main detective then you as a reader are not given ideas as to the cause of the victims' death until the end when he is told. This makes the reader more interested because they have the oppertunity to work out the cause of the murder for themselves. In The Outside Dog the monologue is being told from Marjory's viewpoint, who we find out later to be the murderers husband. This keeps the reader interested because we seem to realise before her who the murderer is, and throughout the monologue different paths of the story are woven in. This starts with the reader at first wanting to know who the murderer was, and then when we work out who it is the text leads us onto wondering whether Marjory knows that its her husband, or whether she's in denial, and then when we realise she definitely knows that its her husband we wonder whether he will be convicted or not. I think you tend to feel more sympathy and involvement with Marjory in The Outside Dog, because it seems that she is unaware that her husband is a murderer, he seems to use her to get rid of his frustrations, by making her have sex with him after every murder, and the way she sticks by him makes you feel sorry for her. ...read more.


In this way, The Outside Dog seems more realistic, and more real as if we are actually there with Marjory, and going through what shes going through at the same time as her, rather than a story with a narrator. It is much easier to imagine what Sherlock Holmes and Watson look like, because we are given descriptions through-out the text, of settings and characters. These details help build the suspense, as we are told that Sherlock Holmes notices bruises on Helen's arm, which suggests that she has been beaten, and then Dr Grimesby Roylott is described as violent, as 'huge', as having a face that was marked with 'every evil passion', and a nose that resembled a 'fierce old bird'. These two descriptions leads us into thinking that there is a connection between the two instances, which would not have been detected without the vivid portrait of the characters, and their appearance. Even though the descriptions help with the story, they also make the story seem unrealistic, because they are so stereotypical. Helen is portrayed as a 'typical woman', as the heroine, and Dr Roylott as the 'typical villain', with his character description suggesting violence. It is harder to make such obvious connections at first with The Outside Dog, because Marjory is just making general observations in her conversation, but as we go deeper into it, we are able to work out facts about her husband, and are able to pick up on details that suggest his guilt. We have to do the same thing when trying to get descriptions of the setting, for instance we have to wait for her to say that shes been cleaning the dog kennel, before we realise she has one, and the same with having ornaments in the toilet. Overall, I think that this lack of description helps us use our own imagination as to what the characters look like, and would probably help when it comes when showing it as a play or on television, because ...read more.


the time it may have seemed realistic because they would have known a lot less about crime, but in the late 20th century people have realised that there aren't always happy endings. The introduction of television and free speech by the media has been able to show that murders and motives are much more complicated and harder to solve than a simplistic Sherlock Holmes story. The ending in The Speckled Band reaches a climax, but I don't think it is very effective, because by that time you have worked out the ending already, whereas The Outside Dog is effective because you're not expecting Stuart to be let off. I think that both authors were effective in suiting their chosen genre, because both texts managed to keep me interested until the end. The Speckled Band was successful in making me wonder who the murderer was, and what the method was throughout the text, even though for a more modern audience I would have preferred it to have less stereotypical characters. The Outside Dog was also successful in its purpose of making you wonder whether Stuart will get caught, and whether his wife knows and will stick by him, and I think the way you are entered into her life mid-conversation is effective because you have to make an effort to find out what's going on, which gets you more involved. I prefer The Outside Dog because I prefer the way it is more realistic, and the fact that there is an open and unexpected ending, unlike in The Speckled Band where you know that the crime will be solved at the end. I think however that if I had lived in the 19th century when it was written I would have appreciated it more, because the language wouldn't have seemed odd, and I would probably have been more willing to accept it as being realistic, or entertaining due to the culture of reading, rather than watching things in a monologue/ more down to earth form. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Conan Doyle section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Conan Doyle essays

  1. Compare the Techniques used to create mystery and suspense by sir Arthur Conan Doyle ...

    "Safe, safe, and safe at home!" (Page 9) Although the readers' anxiety is decreased, the author creates points of panic to raise the level of anxiety. He does this by shortening sentences and chooses very descriptive words. "At the bottom of the steps.

  2. Compare and contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' as examples of ...

    'The BFG' too, was made into a cartoon film. All of Dahl's children's books were filled with imagination and fun. Dahl died on November 23, 1990. These stories have some things in common but they are very different in style and length. The Speckled Band starts with the reader being introduced to how many cases Sherlock Holmes and Watson have solved and also what sort of cases these were.

  1. ‘The Sign of Four’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Holmes tends to use Watson as a messenger, an example being when he is sent to fetch 'Toby' the sniffer dog Chapter 7 In the opening paragraph, Watson describes Marston as caring, and that she supported 'someone weaker than her'.

  2. Both the Adventure of the Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter share some ...

    Out of the spur of the moment, she swings the frozen leg of lamb around Patrick's head and kills him. Dahl, wrote lamb to the Slaughter for a more modern reader who wanted the murder mystery genre to have a little variety.

  1. Compare the techniques used to create mystery and suspense by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ...

    This makes the reader believe they are Lavinia. Ray Bradbury used a personification technique which made "Lavinia Nebbs" feel as though she is evil just like the Lonely One". "The heat pulsed under your dress and along your legs with a stealthy sense of invasion" (page 7).

  2. Select Two Short Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which you Believe are Particularly ...

    This isn't all as in the Final Problem, he has Holmes traveling around the whole of Europe. Most of Doyle's stories have a cold atmosphere, especially the Speckled Band. He describes the woman's heavy clothing and uses lines such as "light the fire", "sitting by the fire".

  1. Re-read the following Sherlock Holmes stories - In terms of narrative of the characters, ...

    I think that the author did this she that people felt for Mrs. Render and didn't take notice so much that she is a murder. Mr. Render's and Dr. Royllot's both act very similarly they both are aggressive. Dr. Royllot came after Helen carrying a "hunting crop" he then bent a metal poker.

  2. Believe that it would have been harder for Conan Doyle to write detective stories ...

    Spencer Gilby. The suspect of the murder is Paul Bayley. The clues that Morse and Lewis found at 14 Jowett Place were post cards that had the same handwriting as Sheila Posters. "The handwriting was more than a reasonable match" There was also a very strange add for a cleaner,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work