The Valley of the Fear - Essay

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Analytical essay
Adrian Flynn’s playwright “The Valley of the Fear”, adapted from the novel by Conan Doyle, demonstrates how the writer uses techniques to convey an impression of suspense and mystery through scenes with a high level of anticipation and uncertainty. Suspense is achieved through the use of literary devices and events that stimulate the viewer’s moods. Readers wait with anticipation for the next secret to be revealed in strong, sudden scenes. Furthermore, Doyle creates a sense of tension by never giving the reader an entire answer so they can make up their own mind about what’s happening. The murder of John Douglas illustrates how the playwright is punctuated at times with strong, sudden scenes to keep you on edge. Someone hammers on a door offstage then yells “Murder has been done!” (Prologue). This scene stops the reader from becoming bored as they wait for the next secret to be revealed. Flynn’s literary style can be seen from the very first sentence in Act 1, Scene 1, when the murder of John Douglas is recalled. Doctor Wood states, “Mr Douglas must have received the whole charge at close range. His head is blown almost to pieces.” This unexpected event, stirs up feelings of shock and disbelief. Doyle stimulates the reader's mood with a high level of uncertainty as to how this brutal event could have occurred or who the murderer could be. More confusion sets in when Sergeant Wilson states, “Then how can any murder have got away? It is out of the question. Mr Douglas must have shot himself.”

Throughout the beginning of the story the credibility of the narrator, Dr Watson, is built up to ensure a relationship of trust (deception) between him and the reader. Everything he says is instantly believable (questionable) and this amplifies the mystery and suspense. An example of this is: My practice had steadily increased, and as I happened to live at no very great distance from Paddington Station, I got a few patients from among the officials. Here you can see that Doyle is emphasising Watson’s profession. The reader is given the impression that because Watson is a doctor he can be trusted. Furthermore, the reader knows that he’s not going to dramatise the events.

The imagery in Flynn’s playwright reveals the ambiguity of our relationship with nature.
a state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety. 2.
a state of mental indecision.
3.
undecided or doubtful condition, as of affairs

MacDonald: Just this. Mr Douglas of Birlstone Manor House was horribly murdered this morning. Someone hammers on a door offstage.
Cecil Barker: [Yelling, off] “Murder has been done!”

a state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety. 2.
a state of mental indecision.
3.
undecided or doubtful condition, as of affairs

Use literary devices such as red herrings and cliffhangers are used extensively. E.g.: "They've taken his wedding ring!" he gasped.

"What!"

"Yes, indeed. Master always wore his plain gold wedding ring on the little finger of his left hand. That ring with the rough nugget on it was above it, and the twisted snake ring on the third finger. There's the nugget and there's the snake, but the wedding ring is gone."

"He's right," said Barker. : This incident convinced the detective that the ring was a part of the investigation and thus led him on another path of a waste of time.

When Sergeant Wilson questions Barker, Ames and Mason regarding the murdered victim’s (Master’s) wedding ring.

To ensure that the mystery itself is properly described (disguised), no detail is left out and this creates vivid images. The horrific details that Doyle puts across are not dampened in any way and this makes the story seem more believable. He goes to great lengths to describe everything so...
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