Similarities and Differences between "The Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the Slaughter"

Authors Avatar

Similarities and Differences between “The Speckled Band” and “Lamb to the Slaughter”

In the following essay I am going to look at two stories “The Speckled Band” and “Lamb to the Slaughter” and examine their similarities and differences. I shall start by looking at “The Speckled Band” analyze its qualities and then contrast it with the second story “Lamb to the Slaughter”.

         “The Speckled Band” is structured in a very traditional way, with the whole story building up to a violent climax at the end. All through the story tension is gradually built up to the violent climax, for example when the characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were in a dark bedroom at the end of the story references are made to the time. “Far away we could hear the deep tones of the parish clock, which boomed out every quarter of an hour. How long they seemed those quarters”. This is repeated in all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Conan Doyle always wrote Sherlock Holmes stories to a formula that is the same in every one. The three stages of the formula are the statement of the case, the investigation of the case and the climax which is normally exiting and violent. The author makes the climax exciting by suddenly releasing the tension in a burst of violence. “Quote p187”.

        The characters in “The Speckled Band” are all two dimensional, we do not get the chance to see their thoughts and feelings, they are just expressed in conversion with other characters. “It is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is terror.” All the characters in “The Speckled Band” are melodramatic and we can almost predict what they will do next. Sherlock Holmes is the brilliant detective who easily solves complex riddles and puzzles. “There is no mystery, my dear madam the left arm of your jacket is splattered with mud in no less than seven places…there is no vehicle save a dog cart which throws up mud in this way.” The villain in the story Dr. Grimesby Roylott is stereotypical of a traditional “music hall” villain. He is big, strong and extremely aggressive towards people. He has no depth and we never have the opportunity to empathize with him. “He stepped swiftly forward, seized the poker, and bent it into a curve.” and “See that you keep yourself out of my grip, he snarled.” The woman in the story Miss Stoner is a typical, vulnerable damsel in distress, who relies heavily on those around her for help. “It is not the cold which makes me shiver…it is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is terror.” We don’t see what she feels and thinks either. The last character Dr. Watson narrates the story and is portrayed as the ordinary and dedicated assistant to the brilliant Mr. Holmes. We see a bit of what Dr. Watson is feeling and thinking, but not a lot. “My dear fellow, I would not miss it for anything. I had no keener pleasure than following Holmes in his professional investigations, and in admiring the rapid deductions…” In this quote we see Watson’s admiration for Sherlock Holmes.

Join now!

        The tone in “The Speckled Band” is serious, but also melodramatic. The tone and mood of the story is all in the language used by the characters. At the beginning of the story the tone is very serious as the vulnerable woman states her tragic ordeal. “Oh, my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!” As the story progresses the language contains exaggerated sentiments which make the story melodramatic. “By the light of the corridor-lamp I saw my sister appear at the opening, her face blanched with terror, her hands groping for help, her ...

This is a preview of the whole essay