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GCSE: Roald Dahl

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  1. comparison of 'lamb of the slaughter' and 'the speckled band'

    She too was hearing whistling at night. Sherlock asked about the father. Helen described him as violent as when he lived in India he killed his butler and also he always argued with his neighbours. With this much information, Sherlock wanted to go and inspect the house. They find a fake bell pull and vent; this was enough information for Sherlock to know that it is a snake that killed Helen's sister. Doctor Roylett, their dad was the murderer. There are distinctions with the stories straight away as they both have different moods in the opening.

    • Word count: 3629
  2. Both "Lamb to the Slaughter" and "The Speckled Band" share some characteristics of murder mysteries. What are the similarities and differences between the two stories? Did either of them make you want to read on more than the other?

    Dahl describes the setting, the lonely atmosphere of the room and house. Atmosphere is created right from the start when he says "The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn" in the first line which paints a picture of a loving family in the readers mind. It doesn't seem like a typical murder mystery and that murder is going to be committed. There is no lightening, spooky house or mist etc which you would associate with a murder mystery. Dahl then goes on to describe Mrs Maloney telling us everything that happened in great detail "the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look".

    • Word count: 3338
  3. Compare and contrast the way the writer's depict relationships between men and women in at least two of the short stories you have studied.

    The author's depicted relationships between men and women in a variety of ways, in Lamb to the Slaughter, the author's attitude showed how he could give defined roles, show a range of tension and convey a non-s****l relationship between a man and a woman. The writer depicts a weak relationship between the characters and gives an intriguing twist at the end. Though compared with Tony Kytes, the author has intended to convey many affairs between men and women which are s****l and emotional.

    • Word count: 6408
  4. Discuss the extent to which the characters and setting in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are typical of a horror story'

    Detective Maloney is a very dominant victim. He appears to the reader as quite a strong character, especially compared to his wife. This is conveyed in the quality of their drinks, 'a strongish one for him, a weak one for herself'. This conveys to the reader that Mrs. Maloney is to weak to handle a strong drink but Detective Maloney 'drained it in one swallow'. His position also emphasizes this as a detective is a very high and authoritative rank.

    • Word count: 3379
  5. Comparison between Murder Mystery stories - " Lamb to the slaughter" and "Speckled Band".

    This feeling for the reader continues throughout the story as we follow Mary's thoughts and feelings and not the detectives. This therefore makes this story untraditional, as we want the murderer to get away with the crime. Another way of showing the contrast in these stories is the murder weapon. A traditional murder weapon would be complex which needs a number of clues to find out. So in 'Speckled Band' where a snake was the weapon, this was not a foregone conclusion, clues had to be found in order for Sherlock to realize what the weapon was.

    • Word count: 3313
  6. Compare and Contrast "Lamb To the Slaughter" with "The Speckled Band".

    any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head". Mary Maloney was the victim in this story because even though she was an attentive wife her husband was going to leave her as a lone mother to raise a child by her self, "this was her sixth month with child" and "and I know it's kind of a bad time to be telling you, But there simply wasn't any other way.

    • Word count: 4975
  7. Both "Lamb to the slaughter" and "The Speckled Band" share some of the characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and differences between the two stories and say which story you think is more compelling to read.

    Words such as excitement capture the mood` of the opening. The "excitement" compared with the "tranquil" lamb to the slaughter evidently makes the speckled band more appealing to read at the beginning. The opening to the Speckled Band has a much higher tempo to it and is more compelling to read. The reader is witness to the murder scene in lamb to the slaughter "she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air as hard as she could".

    • Word count: 4210
  8. Explore How The Women Are Portrayed In The Texts The Withered Arm and Lamb To The Slaughter.

    Gertrude Lodge is mentioned on the first page of The Withered Arm although she does not make an appearance in it until the second chapter. She is the new wife of Farmer Lodge and is an upper class woman. She is described by the milkers as being 'years younger than he' and we learn that she is attractive through the description that Rhoda's son gives his mother, 'she 's very pretty - very. In fact she's lovely'. She is kind and charitable as is shown when she offers Rhoda's son a new pair of boots and by her concern about him carrying a heavy load from market.

    • Word count: 3620
  9. Comparing 'Lamb to the Slaughter' written in the mid-twentieth century, and 'The Speckled Band' written in the 19th century.

    The manor of Stoke Moran is the kind of place that you would expect to be the setting of a murder mystery if you read the description. While Stoke Moran is the typical setting of a murder mystery, the Maloney house isn't. The setting for the story is a warm 1950's family home, belonging to Mr and Mrs Patrick Maloney. Dahl starts the story with a short description of the setting. 'The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight, hers and the one by the empty chair opposite.'

    • Word count: 3576
  10. Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' share some of the characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and differences between the two stories and say which one you think is more compelling to read.

    The opening to this story in a way prepares us for what is to come, whereas in Speckled Band the mystery is brought in slowly and we do not expect what comes. I think Lamb to the Slaughter is more appealing at the start. The reader of Lamb to the Slaughter would get a 'will the murderer get away with it' effect. Lamb to the Slaughter is different to Speckled Band as it does not give out clues to the murder it goes straight into it.

    • Word count: 3899
  11. In this wide-reading piece I will compare two murder mystery stories: 'The Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' by Roald Dahl. My first objective will be to offer a definition of a murder mystery.

    The writing and the style of language clearly reflects this age difference between the two stories. 'The Speckled Band' is a murder mystery in which a very suspicious murder has taken place and Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are called upon to try and crack the case. Holmes is quick to cast his suspicions about how the victim, Julia Stoner died through many clues and information but isn't completely certain until he comes face to face with the murderer, Dr Grimesby Roylott and the murder weapon. Holmes discovers that Dr Grimesby Roylott used an Indian Swamp Adder to carry out his attack and was planning to carry out another attack before Holmes backfired his plan and caused the death of Roylott.

    • Word count: 4898
  12. Both The Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter share some characteristics of the detective stories. Consider how they fit into the genre of the detective stories and the similarities and differences between the two

    Also in some of her books she wrote words or phases in French as she assumed again that as her readers were of the upper class they would be able to understand French. The detectives in the Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter are very different as Sherlock Holmes (detectives in the Speckled Band) was a private detective with a sidekick called Dr Watson. Sherlock Holmes worked because he loves what he does and isn't bothered about the money "working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth."

    • Word count: 3881
  13. Comparing Roald Dahl's 'Lamb to the Slaughter' 1954 and 'The Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1892.

    This causes the reader to feel relaxed without any suspicion that events such as a murder would occur. Roald Dahl uses this homely image 'the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight' to contrast sharply with the murder - shocking the reader - and to support the impression given by Mary Maloney's character, so forcing the reader to challenge their preconceptions. Whereas great attention to the setting is given in 'The Speckled Band' it is no longer needed after the initial description in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' as suspense is built in different ways. This is a large difference between the two.

    • Word count: 4252
  14. Compare the Two Short Stories, 'The Speckled Band' And 'Lamb To The Slaughter'.

    In the 1950's there were doubts on the effectiveness of the police force and unlike 'The Speckled Band', where the story is written to try and change peoples views on the police, 'Lamb To The Slaughter' is written in a way that reflects people's views. 'The Speckled Band' was written in 1892 and at this time, England was under the reign of Queen Victoria. 'The Speckled band' is very much a Victorian influenced story. At the time, the Victorians had resentment for the police, as they didn't seem to be doing an appropriate job.

    • Word count: 6401
  15. Lamb to the Slaughter and The Speckled Band are both examples of the murder mystery genre. Explore the similarities and differences in these two examples of the genre.

    We find out that Mary loves Patrick to bits and cherishes every moment she spends with him. She adores every little thing about this man, "She loved him for the way he sat loosely in a chair...She loved the intent, far look in his eyes." After the couple have their usual drink, Patrick explains something to Mary. As the readers, we don't get an insight to what is being said, but we do get a picture of what it is about. "Of course I'll give you money and see you're looked after," Patrick says. We come to the conclusion that whatever Patrick has said, really shocked and bewildered Mary.

    • Word count: 3823
  16. Both ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ and ‘A Speckled Band’ shares characteristics of classic detective fiction. With close reference to these two stories, compare Conan Doyle and Dahl’s different approaches to the genre

    'Lamb to the Slaughter' is written in third person, this gives an objective view and not a character perspective. You feel involved in the story and can judge for your self whether the murder had a motive that could even justify the killing. You are already in on who, when and why the murderer killed but the tension and drama comes because you don't know whether she (the murderer) will get away with it. You see and experience the murder and experience the emotions, you experience this in 'a speckled band but you don't really experience why Dr. Grimesby Roylott kills and tries to kill again.

    • Word count: 3178
  17. Lamb to the Slaughter and Vendetta

    This little village is known as Bonifacio. Main Similarities that occurred in both stories are: - Both stories have a narrative voice of 3rd person - Both have a narrative viewpoint on the main female character i.e. we see all events through the point of view of either Mary Maloney or Widow Saverini - Both of the stories are murder stories - Both stories deal with revenge but in different ways - Both the murders in the stories are women - Both the murders in each story get away with the murder - Both the women have an effective alibi - Both the women manage to fool

    • Word count: 3037
  18. Both Arthur Conan Doyle and Roald Dahl cover the issues of crime and punishment. Discuss with reference to character, language and historical context.

    It occurred to her that perhaps he hadn't even spoken' She then continues to go and get something for dinner out of the freezer. She got a leg of lamb. When he once again tells her that he does not want anything to eat, she, on impulse, hits him over the head with it and kills him. This is shocking and unexpected. The story carries on explaining how she feeds the evidence to the detectives and the alibi she uses.

    • Word count: 3148
  19. Both “Lamb to the Slaughter” and “The Speckled Band” shares some of the characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and differences between the two stories and say which story you think is more compelling to read.

    We can tell this when the writer uses the word "singular features". The case described in the story seems unusual or mysterious especially when we are told a promise of secrecy was made. A very strange and curios mood is set and the reader is left wandering who the young lady in the story is and what is so terrible it is making her shiver from fear. The young lady is described as being "in a considerable state of excitement" and the way she wears a veil as well as being dressed all in black adds to the curiosity of the reader.

    • Word count: 4330
  20. Compare and contrast “Lamb to the slaughter” by Roald Dahl with “Vendetta” by Guy De Maupassant.

    Over the years, forms of revenge may have changed, but they are still always there. In the 18th century, people may have gotten revenge by destroying other peoples crops, where as now, people would get revenge by breaking other peoples computers. In both stories, revenge is gained by murder, although, the murders only murder out of their own love for the person who has hurt them or is being hurt. "She came out slowly, feeling cold and surprised." This shows just how shocked Mary Maloney was at what she had done. She had never meant to hurt her husband, but she was in shock and probably denial at what she had just witnessed.

    • Word count: 3185
  21. Roald Dahl – “Lamb to the Slaughter” and Arthur Conan Doyle – “The Speckled Band”

    "Lamb to the Slaughter" is shorter than "The Speckled Band" because really there is no mystery to solve, as the reader feels that they have witnessed the murder as it happened, and so there is no real need to relive the events that happened earlier on that evening. What the reader really wants to know, I think, is what becomes of Mary Malone, the woman who murdered her husband, but didn't really deserve to go to prison, more like she needed help of some kind.

    • Word count: 3040
  22. Consider the differences in the way woman are presented in four short stories, showing how this is affected by the period in which each story is set.

    This is Milly, who was the one he was going to marry in the first place. At that time women were expected to respect their husbands and be good wives. They seem to accept this as one of the women says, "I would make you a finer wife" in order to try to get Tony to marry her. Since the town is so small gossip can travel quickly so when a girl who is not going to be his wife asks for a lift on his cart he is not so sure because that was not the right social behaviour back then.

    • Word count: 4310
  23. Both Mrs Maloney and Roylott are clever about the way they hide the evidence of their crimes. Why does Mrs Maloney get away and Roylott doesn't?

    The time difference in the two stories means that the people have a different expectation of what expect in a story. The time difference in the Speckled Band is clearly shown by the language, 'yet you had a good drive in a dogcart'. We wouldn't use 'dogcart' in today's language; if people wrote differently their expectation is bound to of changed. The audience at the time of the Speckled Band Would expect the murderer to be a man. Change in audience suggests why Roylott gets caught and Mrs Maloney doesn't.

    • Word count: 3647
  24. Compare ‘The Adventure of The Speckled Band’ and ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ referring to the structure, language and characterisation. In what ways are the stories typical of the detective story genre.

    If we are alert readers we can pick up the clues and solve the puzzle. However, things aren't always as they seem and we can find ourselves being distracted by misleading clues - 'red herrings' which is all part of the fun of reading detective fiction. 'The Speckled Band' opens with Watson, Holmes side-kick, looking through the files and cases that Holmes is solved. The mood is quite mysterious as Watson searches through "On glancing over my notes of seventy off cases...I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange." This specific line makes the reader feel like they want to keep reading the book - to find out which case Watson is going to go into detail about.

    • Word count: 4308

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the difference between The Withered Arm and Lamb to the Slaughter.

    "To conclude this essay revenge takes place all the time and will continue to take place for years to come and it doesn't make any difference which century it happened in or if it is for good or bad. People will take revenge for things that happen to them, or their friends or family."

  • In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the stories of the Vendetta and The lamb to the slaughter. These two stories are about revenge. I will compare and contrast the way revenge is presented in both stories

    "The revenge I preferred was Mary's. The crime was so perfect and I admire her intelligence and acting skills. In my opinion the Widow was to cold blooded whereas I can understand Mary's motives more. I loved the way Mary acted around the police, even convincing them to eat the murder weapon whilst they were supposed to be searching for it."

  • Compare and contrast the two short stories "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, and "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl.

    "Dahl and Conan-Doyle have engineered the two stories well, but in my opinion, Dahls story, 'Lamb to the Slaughter', is the better of the two, for two main reasons. Firstly, Dahl has written this story specifically to go against the traditional detective story, making the setting, plot and characters untypical. Secondly, I particularly like the way in which Dahls characters develop as the story goes on. Mary Maloney goes from loving housewife and potential victim to possible psychopathic murderer. Patrick Maloney develops from potential psychopathic murderer to dead victim, and the detectives... well the detectives are pretty dim to begin with anyway. While Dahl's characters are flexible, Conan-Doyle's stay rigid and static. Dr Roylott stays violent, Helen Stoner stays terrified, and Holmes stays as vigilant and observant as ever. The main ingredient of a detective story is that the villain is caught and justice is achieved. This happens in 'The Speckled Band', with the poetic justice of Dr Roylott's death, but in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' it doesn't, and the villain gets off "scot-free". Even if they had found her out, they wouldn't have any evidence. The main ingredient is missing in 'Lamb to the Slaughter', but even so, that doesn't make the story any worse."

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