The theme of secrets and silence are important themes to detective fiction, without secrets the narratives wouldn’t have anything to keep the readers interested in continuing with the story. Secrets keep the audience reading, trying to anticipate the next move the antagonist is going to make. Silence is also used in narratives to enhance the mystery of the storyline and draw the reader in, because without silence, secrets couldn’t be kept. This essay will explore the different uses of secrets and silence within narratives and how they enhance the storyline. The texts that will be explored are The Purloined letter by Edgar Allan Poe and The Adventures of the Dancing Men by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, several topics will be discussed including characterisation, setting, and point of view and how they are used to hinder the climax of the storyline.
Secrets are a way to draw the reader in, silence often accompanies secrets and can be used to hinder the progress of detective fiction, forcing the fictional detective to figure out the mystery and worm secrets out of silent characters. They are an important theme of different types of narratives, including but not limited to detective stories. In stories like the Purloined letter secrets were used to enhance the story, for example the dialogue between the main character Dupin and the police officer. This is shown by Dupin stealing the letter that the police chief wanted and then extorting a large sum of money from the officer before revealing that he was in possession of the letter. During this narrative Dupin and his companion remain silent throughout the officer’s explanation of his search. Although the story is centred on the misdeed...
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...e Cubitt’s residence in anticipation of a crime being committed, only to arrive too late and hear if the news straight from the Inspector himself. Saunders and Mrs King are important to the story to explain certain happenings in relation to the crime when neither Mr nor Mrs Cubitt’s could explain it, as one of them is deceased and the other seriously injured.(Doyle)
The main setting of both these stories are not really conducive to secrets and silence. However in both narratives there are multiple settings that provide different settings for the story. The setting is very conducive to the themes
Secrets and silence are a big part of both of these narratives, Elsie Cubitt’s past in Doyle’s story and the stolen letter’s contents, whereabouts and how it was stolen in Poe’s narrative. Although these tales use both secrets and silence as a theme they vary greatly in use.
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