Anticipation and Suspense in the Adventure of the Speckled Band

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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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