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Anticipation and Suspense in the Adventure of the Speckled Band

Powerful Essays
How does Conan Doyle create a sense of anticipation and suspense in

the Adventure of the Speckled Band?

The Adventure of the Speckled Band is a classic mystery novel. It is

so in the way that it uses several writing techniques to create a

sense of ambiguity and vagueness. Conan Doyle makes sure to leave the

reader with as little information as possible and to make it hard to

foresee what will happen next. This is all to have them anticipate the

ending and the solving of the mystery, to keep them gripped. Even the

very title of the novel is unclear and does well to conjure up ideas

inside the readers mind. It is only until the whole story is took in

and the ending is unveiled that the reader can fully appreciate and

understand what exactly the 'Speckled Band' is.

Conan Doyle starts by introducing the character of Sherlock Holmes by

using Watson as a first person narrator to tell the story. Watson can

be seen as a means of understanding Sherlock Holmes' thoughts. By

using Watson as someone Sherlock can talk to, we can get a better

perception of what goes on in his mind. He also uses Watson as a sort

of ordinary person, who, like the reader, also attempts to solve the

mystery alongside Sherlock Holmes. What seems completely perplexing to

Watson seems 'elementary' to Holmes. This provides a means to

highlight Sherlock's superiority. Conan starts by putting importance

on Holmes' experience as a detective by using phrases like

'Seventy-odd cases' and emphasis on the fact that Sherlock Holmes does

not accept cases that seem commonplace, for he works as more of an

artist in his field than for the attainment of wealth and fortune. In

the first paragraph, Conan starts to build the atmosphere by using

phrases to...

... middle of paper ...

...ter what is a long time for the pair, the creepy mood is

broken by rudiments of the clues that the reader has been struggling

to piece together. There is a momentary gleam of light from the false

ventilation shaft and a smell of burning oil wafts through. After a

further 30 minutes, a hissing noise is then heard when Holmes jumps

into action, swishing his cane at the bell-rope. Then, the whistle

that both women had commented on and a blood-curdling scream are heard

from Roylott's room. After going to investigate, Holmes and Watson

find that the speckled band is actually a swamp adder, the deadliest

snake in India. Finally, the mystery is revealed, and the last page is

dedicated to explaining in further detail how exactly Sherlock Holmes

pieced together all the clues. All these things successfully create a

feeling of anticipation and suspense in the reader.
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