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To what extent do The Speckled Band and The Gatewood Caper fulfil my expectations of a Classic Detective Story?

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To what extent do The Speckled Band and The Gatewood Caper fulfil my expectations of a Classic Detective Story? Introduction In this essay I am going to be writing about and comparing each story to our expectations of what a typical classic detective Story should be like. I will be focusing on the following two detective stories; firstly a Victorian melodrama called The Speckled Band written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and then secondly a modern day detective story called The Gatewood Caper written by Dashiell Hammett. I will be analysing these two stories by focusing on plot, character, setting, structure, style of writing and theme. Arthur Conan Doyle was a legendary writer in the golden age of the Victorian era; he was an exceptional writer of classic detective stories. He was born on the 22nd of May in 1859 and died in 1930; he was the creator of the most famous of all detectives Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and came from a family of artists. Conan Doyle was inspired from boyhood by the art of writing and while he was at Southsea he wrote several novels and many short stories. Dashiell Hammett effectively modernised the detective story, as we now know it to be. Hammett was born on the eastern shore of Maryland in 1894. Hammett died in 1961. In 1915 he began working on and off as a detective for the Pinkerton Agency. Soon he was to turn these experiences into some of the most popular detective stories of his time. Unlike the intellectualised mysteries of earlier detective novels, Hammett's less than glamorous realism transformed the genre into a serious response to the urban culture of the times. Hammett spent his early twenties working as a detective in San Francisco. In 1923 Hammett began writing short stories in the popular magazine BLACK MASK. For the next several years Hammett became a storyteller writing short stories for the BLACK MASK. ...read more.


The Gatewood Caper is completely different and is nothing like a classic detective story. Although it does match some of my expectations of how the plot of a classic detective story should be like it is a very modern story with a very modern plot. The main difference between the plot in the Speckled Band which is a classic detective story and the plot in the Gatewood Caper which is a modern detective story is that in a classic detective story the plot goes along a straight line and everything that happens we might expect to happen, happens whereas in the plot of a modern detective story everything we might expect to happen doesn't always happen. Expectations of character that are fulfilled We expect the character of the detective in any classic detective to be a man who is extremely clever, intuitive, observant, inquisitive, deductive and highly instinctive. The name of the detective in the Speckled Band is Sherlock Holmes. Holmes matches all of my expectations of how the character in a detective story should be and so too does the Op in the Gatewood Caper. The big difference is that the Op is a lot weaker in all of these aspects when you directly compare him to someone of the likes of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes probably the greatest detective of all time whereas the Op is just an ordinary policeman turned detective. We expect the character of a detective in any classic detective story to be something of a superhero but what we see in any modern detective story is the character of a detective has a big sense of realism associated with him which makes it all that little more believable so that we can relate to the detective more. We also expect the character of the detective in any classic detective story to be very strong (powerful), tough, very brave, a good soul and an expert in his field of work. ...read more.


Also in the Gatewood Caper the end period is where the mystery is solved and explained by the detective but it also contains air of uncertainty left over from the middle period, which makes it a lot more enjoyable than the Speckled Band because in its last period although the mystery is solved and explained by Holmes there is no air of uncertainty because it has been used up all in the middle period which makes it quite dull. As for Style of writing again I preferred the Gatewood Caper because the writing it was so much more modern and a lot faster than the slow and dull style of writing of the Speckled Band. The style of writing in the Gatewood Caper was also a lot more explosive and to the point which I really like compared to the very implicit style of writing in the Speckled Band. As for theme I preferred the Gatewood Caper because of its very new and modernised ideas, which I found entertaining. I enjoyed in particular the fact that the villain was a woman and the victim was a man and how no one expected it until the Op found the evil blackmailer Audrey at the end. I also enjoyed the theme in the Gatewood Caper more because there was a sense of injustice and feeling for the character of Audrey, which explained and gave her a reason to be the villain whereas with Harvey Gatewood there was a feeling a hate created over the character as if he somehow didn't deserve to be the victim and that's why from the very beginning we are fooled into believing that Audrey is the victim and Harvey Gatewood is the villain. In conclusion I preferred reading the modern detective story the Gatewood Caper to reading the Speckled Band a classic detective story. I prefer reading modern detective stories now that I have examined the all differences between classic and modern ones. English Coursework 1 Magdi Dawood 11W Candidate no. 3728 Page 1 ...read more.

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