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Sherlock Holmes & The Speckled Band / Lamb To The Slaughter

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Sherlock Holmes & The Speckled Band / Lamb To The Slaughter

"Lamb to the slaughter", by Roald Dahl, and "The Speckled Band" by
Arthur Conan Doyle share many features, despite the difference in eras
in which they were written.

Each story has its own distinctive style when creating both tension
and an atmosphere of suspense.

"The Speckled Band" has a sense of urgency about it, yet manages to
build up suspense until the climax of the story.

"I have reasons to know....which tend to make the matter even more
terrible than the truth."

This quote, found in the first paragraph, immediately begins creating
an atmosphere for the story, and intriguing the reader as to what the
narrator (Dr. Watson) is talking about. The reader will now want to
continue reading to find out the truth.

Doyle also uses other character's speech to add to the tension:

"It is not cold which makes me shiver...it is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is
terror."

At this point, the events have not been explained - this character
(Miss Stoner) describing how she is feeling inceases the tension, as
the readers do not yet know the full situation; only that they should
be scared of whatever it is. The use of the word "terror" helps to
emphasise the point - 'fear' may not be strong enough, but following
it with 'terror' helps to reinforce the situation to the reader.

"You must not fear...we shall soon set matters right."

As Sherlock Holmes says this, it may cast a doubt over the reader's
mind - if a character issues a statement proclaiming that things will
turn out well, there is a concept that the opposite may happen
instead. All this further adds to the need to read more, as the reader
will now want to see if Holmes is indeed correct.
...


... middle of paper ...


...e author here also manages to end
the story in a fitting manner, by having the investigating officers
eat the murder weapon. The atmosphere and overall tone changes at the
climax - from a serious murder story to a black comedy, using the
line:

"Personally, I think it's right here on the premises." "Probably right
here under our very noses."

The irony is that the men are being unknowingly correct - they are
actually eating the leg of lamb used to kill one of their colleagues.

The two stories also differ in the way they use sympathy. In "The
Speckled Band", the audience is supposed to express sympathy towards
the victim, Helen Stoner, and is expected to be against the killer,
Dr. Roylott. In "Lamb To The Slaughter", it is written so that it
appears the killer is actually the true victim - that she was driven
to killing her husband by the man himself.


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