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

With Reference to Collins 'A Terribly Strange Bed' and Conan Doyle's 'Speckled Band', Discuss How Both Authors Create Mystery and Tension.

Extracts from this document...


With Reference to Collins 'A Terribly Strange Bed' and Conan Doyle's 'Speckled Band', Discuss How Both Authors Create Mystery and Tension. Although these short stories are fictional and were written in the mid 19th Century they are crime dramas containing stereotypical images of the villains of the time. These include social outcasts such as Dr Roylott and Monsieur Faulkner. Many writers use suspense in their stories in order to excite the reader more and to make them want to turn over to the next page. This is can be done by giving the reader some information, but not enough for him or he to be able to answer the mystery or riddle that they may be trying to solve. 'The Speckled Band' focuses on the Roylott family, of Stoke Moran in Surrey. The family includes twin sisters Julia and Helen Stoner, and their stepfather Dr Grimesby Roylott. The readers' first impression of Helen Stoner is that she is grieving over someone's death, due to her appearance. She is "dressed in black and heavily veiled". The reader is encouraged to feel sympathy for Helen Stoner and anxious to find out who has died and how, as she is clearly in mourning. The simile used to portray her fear and suggests she is weak and vulnerable, maybe even the next victim. ...read more.


Our picture of Roylott as a dangerous and violent man is reinforced when he bends the poker with his bare hands and then hurls it into the fireplace 'snarling' at Holmes before leaving. The mystery is discovered in the "picture of ruin", Stoke Moran, located in Surrey. The manor house is portrayed as a suspicious, dark, threatening house, by the use of Conan Doyle's simile "two curving wings like those of a crab". Crabs claws are strong and they have the potential to harm. Therefore the simile used implies that Stoke Moran is a dubious, shady house, situated in the middle of nowhere, with darkness surrounding it. Conan Doyle's technique of using darkness throughout The Speckled Band creates tension, and this appears to the readers' senses. The imagery of the "distorted child" affects the reader's sight, as they become more aware of their surroundings. The "cat-like whine" appears the reader's sound sense, as the reader can hear things, but they cannot see them, and this would make the reader nervous. Therefore they are encouraged to read further on. The things, such as "chill wind", affect the readers' touch sense. All of the senses are appealed to, and therefore the readers are able to feel more involved and believe they are included in the mystery. ...read more.


much sleeping drugs into the coffee that keeps MF awake, we realize the full extent of what's happening to him, we relive the crime as its happening whereas in Conan Doyle's story the crime has already happened an Holmes is trying to solve it therefore it is necessary for him to use a person who is not involved in the story to be a narrator whereas if Wilkie Collins did this then the story would be a complete failure because we would know he survives, yes there would be an adventure but it wouldn't grab the audiences attention and they wouldn't feel involved in the story. Therefore I think both authors go about creating mystery and tension the best possible way because if they swapped round and Holmes was telling the story then the audience wouldn't want to get involved and the same with "a terribly Strange bed" Both authors create suspense in their own way that in my opinion are as effective as each other but I felt more eager to turn over the page in "The Speckled Band" Also the description of the setting is successful in creating the most suspense, as the use of darkness suggests something is going to happen. We don't find out a lot about the setting in "A Terribly Strange Bed" but it his little relevance to the story. ...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 ...

    'With a sudden effort straightened it out again' (page 12). This quote states Holmes's physical appearance but also states he strength. 'A ventilator is made, a cord is hung, and a lady who sleeps in the bed dies. Does that not strike you?'

  2. Compare how Roald Dahl in his short story The Land Lady and Wilkie Collins ...

    The character in A Terribly Strange Bed should be wary because of the amount of money he has to look after from winning at the game 'Rouge et Noir'. In the Landlady the things that should be inanimate are now animate for example the bed lowers which creates tension to the short story.

  1. 'The Speckled Band' and 'The Engineer's Thumb.' How does the writer create mystery and ...

    culminate in his death, as the snake escapes from the fury of Holmes and returns to bite its master. There is clearly a moral to this story, as Roylott eventually gets his comeuppance. This is typical of the Victorian morality as good always overcomes evil.

  2. Examine how suspense and tension are created in The Stolen Bacillus & The Adventure ...

    What we find out later on in the story though, if Dr. Roylott's daughters marry (Helen's Father), he loses his income. Lots of clues are thrown at the reader when reading through this story, and what makes it so interesting to read, is the fact that we are almost turned into detectives trying to solve the murder.

  1. How Is Tension Created In The Speckled Band?

    Firstly, his confidence overwhelms me; he is of course overly certain of his stereotypical views of characters, i.e. the villains. His confidence in his ability is also strong, as this quote shows, "No, But I fancy that I may have Deduced a little more.

  2. What strategies did nineteenth century writers use to build dramatic tension?

    into a sense of disbelief and wonder about the final out come. There is a lot of irony as the anarchist who is obsessed with "death, death, death!" thinks he has "brilliantly seized his opportunity" to poison the water of London, has in actual fact failed and is not carrying

  1. Compare and contrast 'The Speckled Band' and Lamb to the Slaughter'

    This is a suspense part of the story. The reader knows that something bad is going to happen but you just don't know what. Holmes and Watson see a light coming through the vent from Dr Roylotts room. They then hear a hissing and suddenly Holmes reacts and strikes something.

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

    The reason for this is Holmes feels his profession has its own reward and so doesn't require money, "As to my reward, my profession is its own reward" (page 2). This states Holmes obviously has money. In the Victorian era, men were classed as superior to women, mentally, physically and emotionally and so women did not vote.

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