Comparing short stories- lamb to the slaughter and the speckled band

Powerful Essays
Comparing short stories- lamb to the slaughter and the speckled band


Lamb to the Slaughter' was written by Roald Dahl in 1954 shortly after

the Second World War. Roald Dahl is famous for writing children's

stories, like Charlie and the chocolate factory and James and the

Giant Peach. Roald Dahl also writes stories for adults. Lamb to the

slaughter is a fine example of an adult murder mystery story. Lamb to

the slaughter is about a housewife waiting for her husband to come.

When he does return home, he gives her bad news. Dazed by this news,

she goes to the freezer to cook lamb for their supper but without

warning strikes her husband over the head with it. She then goes to

her local shop to create an Alibi. When the police come round to

investigate she offers them the lamb which she killed her husband

with. And without knowing it is the murder weapon the police eat the

leg of lamb, destroying the evidence.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 'The Speckled Band' in 1892. His stories

are about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes set in late Victorian

and early Edwardian England. The speckled band is about a man, Doctor

Grimesby Roylott who tries to kill his stepdaughters using a poisonous

snake to climb through a ventilator and down a bell rope so that he

does not have to pay for their weddings with the inheritance that his

late wife gave him. Sherlock Holmes and his companion Doctor Watson

investigate this crime and prevent Doctor Roylott's stepdaughter,

Helen Stoner from being killed by staying in her bedroom and hitting

the snake. But the snake went back into Doctor Roylott's room, biting

and killing him.

In lamb to the slaughter, Dahl m...

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we do not find out what happened until the end of the story.

These stories are also similar because they both have victims Patrick

Maloney being one and Helen Stoner being the other.

They both have murderers; Mary Maloney murdered her husband. Dr.

Roylott did not directly murder Julia stoner but as he planned for a

snake to kill her, he is still the murderer.

They both have detectives; Sherlock Holmes and Jack Noonan


Murder mysteries have changed a lot since Victorian times. Now there

is technology that could pick things up for example the poison of the

snake could not be detected in the speckled band but if it were in the

time of lamb to the slaughter, scientists would probably have picked

that up. Women would not be likely to be murders in Victorian times

but now that is quite common.
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