With Reference to Collins A Terribly Strange Bed and Conan Doyle's
Speckled Band, Discuss How Both Authors Create Mystery and Tension.
Although these short stories are fictional and were written in the mid
19th Century they are crime dramas containing stereotypical images of
the villains of the time. These include social outcasts such as Dr
Roylott and Monsieur Faulkner. Many writers use suspense in their
stories in order to excite the reader more and to make them want to
turn over to the next page. This is can be done by giving the reader
some information, but not enough for him or he to be able to answer
the mystery or riddle that they may be trying to solve.
'The Speckled Band' focuses on the Roylott family, of Stoke Moran in
Surrey. The family includes twin sisters Julia and Helen Stoner, and
their stepfather Dr Grimesby Roylott.
The readers' first impression of Helen Stoner is that she is grieving
over someone's death, due to her appearance. She is "dressed in black
and heavily veiled". The reader is encouraged to feel sympathy for
Helen Stoner and anxious to find out who has died and how, as she is
clearly in mourning. The simile used to portray her fear and suggests
she is weak and vulnerable, maybe even the next victim. "Restless
frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal", indicates to the
reader how she is being "hunted" like some kind of prey. This assists
in building the suspense, as the reader is unaware of the details of
the death, it is still a mystery.
Conan Doyle's use of nouns, when Helen is speaking, suggests how
scared she is. "It is fear, Mr Holmes. It is terror", illustrates that
either Helen Stoner is exaggerating the situation, or something
terrible has happened to cause this extreme horror. The reader is
intrigued, as it is not yet understandable why she is so upset.
Therefore the nouns are used to create suspense effectively.
The complex sentences used in Helen Stoner's speech, when she informs
Holmes of the situation, such as, "The very horror of my situation
lies in the fact thatâ€¦as the fancies of a nervous women", suggest she
hasn't spoken to anyone about her fears, and therefore she is
desperate to report to Holmes, allowing him to attempt to solve the
mystery. By doing so, there is a build up of suspense for the reader,
as it is apparent the reader will soon discover the mystery, which has
been troubling Helen Stoner.
The reader's first impression of Dr Roylott is that he is better then
his relatives and he will do the "right thing" with his life, as he
has a medical degree, and a large practice in Calcutta. This however
is a false impression of Dr Roylott, as Helen Stoner describes him as
having "A large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow
from the sun, and marked with every evil passion' he is also said to
have 'deep, bile shot eyes' and a 'high, thin fleshless nose' which
resembled 'a fierce old bird of prey." Also we learn that " he...