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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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