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Lamb To The Slaughter And The Speckled Band

2413 words - 10 pages

Both Lamb to the Slaughter and The Speckled Band Share some of the
characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and
differences between the two stories And say which of the two you find
more compelling.

Arthur Conan Doyle, author of "The Speckled Band," wrote his story in
1892. Roald Dahl, author of "Lamb to the Slaughter," wrote his story
in 1954. Straightaway there is a definite difference in the stories;
one was written 62 years after the other. This major time gap will
obviously affect the way they were written. I will take this into
account in this essay. "The Speckled Band" is a typical murder
mystery, involving an eccentric doctor and a cunning detective. "Lamb
to the Slaughter" is about an impulsive murder of a man by his wife,
when he tells her that he is leaving her.

"Lamb to the Slaughter" begins with a happy, heart-warming scene of
Mary Maloney sat waiting for her husband to return from work. "The
room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps
alight." It tells the reader how in love she is, and she seems
peaceful and contented as she sews. It appears like domestic bliss. It
seems extremely unlikely for that home to be the scene of a murder, as
it appears to be so tranquil. As the murder is at the beginning of the
story, it leaves the reader in suspense - will the detective catch
Mary? Or will she get away with it? It is different to traditional
detective stories, because they usually do not reveal whom the
murderer is until the very end, which also keeps the reader in
suspense but using a different technique.

"The Speckled Band" is written in first-person narrative and in the
past tense. This gives the reader a more realistic impression of the
story, and makes it seem true. Dr. Roylott is described as eccentric
and dangerous, showing us that he is very likely to be the murderer.
The opening of the story has Dr Watson speaking, telling the reader
about the background of the story he is about to tell. He makes it
seem mysterious and dangerous. This story is also a slight variation
on traditional detective stories, as we have a very good idea that Dr
Roylott is the murderer, although it never confirms this until the
end. He is portrayed to be violent and aggressive, and the story is
mainly about discovering how the murder was committed, not who
committed it, which would be the classic 'whodunit' style.

In "Lamb to the Slaughter," the murderer is unusual and quite a
surprise to the audience. When Dahl describes Mr and Mrs Maloney, the
reader is led to believe that Mr Maloney would be the one most capable
of committing a murder, with his nasty abrupt nature and his heavy
drinking; "He had finished the second drink and was staring into the
glass, frowning." Mary Maloney is six months' pregnant, therefore
seems highly unlikely to commit a murder, especially the murder of the
father of her child. As it shows in the first scene of the story, Mary
is a...

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