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What are the similarities and differences between 'A Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter'? What effects did the writer use to make you want to read more?

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A Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter (Wider reading) What are the similarities and differences between 'A Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter'? What effects did the writer use to make you want to read more? In this essay, I will compare the similarities and differences between two short stories, 'A Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' by Roald Dahl. Both stories are about murder and mystery. There are many comparisons that can be made between the stories, these include; the detective figures, the murderers, the victims, the settings, the language and the suspense. 'The Speckled Band' which is set in the 19th century is about a young woman, Helen Stoner, who comes to Sherlock Holmes because of her older sister, of whom was soon to be married, died under mysterious circumstances. Shortly before her sister died, several years before, she mentioned to Helen the smell of cigar smoke, a whistle and a metallic sound. At the time when Helen has come to see Sherlock Holmes, she is about to marry and has heard the same sounds herself. Both sisters lived in the large, run-down mansion of their stepfather, Dr Grimesby Roylott, a man with a violent temper and who is emotionally unstable. He lives in the mansion with a baboon and cheetah. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' which is set in the 20th century is about Mrs Mary Maloney, who kills her husband with a leg of lamb, as he is leaving her but the reason why Patrick Maloney is leaving her is unknown. ...read more.


Also, if the murderer had brought the weapon into the house, would 'he' have left it anywhere near the scene of the crime. Why didn't anyone notice a man or woman enter the Maloney house carrying a large object? Jack Noonan was very kind and sympathetic to Mary Maloney. This is acceptable but he should have overlooked the possibility that Mary Maloney could have been the killer too. A woman easily convinces Noonan. He let her persuade him to have a glass of whisky. To convince Noonan of her grief, 'she looked at him with her large, dark, tearful eyes'. She also talked Noonan into eating the leg of lamb as her deceased husband would, '...never forgive me, God bless his soul, if I allowed you to remain in this house without offering decent hospitality. Why don't u eat up the lamb that's in the oven...' this was the murder weapon. In 'The Speckled Band', the murderer is Dr Grimesby Roylott. He is the stepfather of Helen and Julia Stoner. We are given the impression that Roylott is a murderer from Watson's description of him. Watson also describes Roylott as a 'huge man', with a large face 'marked with every evil passion'. He has 'deep set, bile shot eyes, and the high thin fleshless nose, gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey.' Helen Stoner had also told Homes that Roylott had a long-term imprisonment in India as he had beaten his native butler to death due to some thefts that had taken place. ...read more.


'The Speckled Band' was set in both London and leatherhead. The main events of the story were set in a two hundred year old mansion called Stoke Moran. Stoke Moran is the kind of setting you would expect a murder mystery to take place, if u read Watson's account of the mansion. Watson described the wings of the house as, 'like the claws of a crab'. He observes that in one wing, 'the windows were broken, and blocked with wooden boards, while the roof was partly caved in, a picture of a ruin', giving the reader a mental picture of the house as large, old, damp and dark. The setting for 'Lamb the slaughter' is the opposite of Stoke Moran. It is not the conventional type of setting for a murder mystery to take place. The setting is warm 1950's home, which belongs to Mr and Mrs Maloney. Dahl begins the story with a short account of the Maloney residence. 'The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight-hers and the one by the empty chair opposite'. The image the reader is given of the house is that it is small, cosy, warm and bright. The description of the Maloney residence is not the typical setting for a murder mystery. It is nothing like the portrayal of the Stoke Moran. The approach Dahl uses, makes the reader feel a false sense of security, making you unaware of what is going to happen. Dahl's intention is that the reader is shocked when the murder of Patrick Maloney happens. Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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