Lamb to the Slaughter

Topics: Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet Pages: 5 (1870 words) Published: November 11, 2010
Comparing Stories

Over the passed six weeks we have been reading two detective stories: ‘The Speckled Band’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ by Roald Dahl. Both stories are diverse and decisive but, are very different. The stories contain basic detective ingredients such as, the evil villain, the cunning detective and most importantly an action packed ending.

‘The Speckled Band’ is a fairly long story which is filled with information. The text is stretched out into many complex sentences, this gives you time to scrutinise the harder parts of the story. The storyline was very well thought upon and contains intricate details which at times leave you mesmerised at the true beauty of Doyle’s writing. Roald Dahl, traditionally known for the serious of children’s books he once wrote, would surprise you to know that he once wrote a detective story also. ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is fast paced and contains many twists and turns. At times you feel lost as the story subverts from time to time. The beginning of the story is long and slow but it soon picks up pace and begins to draw you ever closer to the controversial ending. Sometimes the seriousness of detective stories make you feel lost and dare I say bored, but Roald Dahl’s comical theme soon breaks the tension and leaves you sniggering to yourself at a monumentally hilarious ending.

‘The Speckled Band’ is narrated in first person and contains many complex sentences and is almost fully speech. As the story starts it explains about Dr Watson’s past cases, it then goes on to tell you about this one case. As things seem to change from past to present you find that there is something happening. Sentence structure changes to an appropriate speed, speech is consistently common and a general sense of anxiety is felt as Helen abruptly awakens Holmes and his colleagues. The story then returns to its slow pace. As I mentioned earlier, the pace changes for you to scrutinise the intricate details. Many suspects and plans are revealed as Sherlock and Helen discuss the mysterious death of her sister. Then, tension is again built as the team examines the Crime scene on unofficial business. The way Doyle uses short sentences and detailed information on the evil Dr Roylott can sometimes leave you anticipating the unexpected ending. As Sherlock explores the house he notices strange things which again leave you anticipating the ending. But as the climax draws to a close all the clues become evidently clear, and then, the controversial ending occurs as Roylott’s own tool is used against him. Overall the story keeps you guessing throughout and, in return keeps the climax a surprise.

‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is fun, diverse and full of surprises. ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ starts with the narrator describing the setting. It creates a picture in the readers mind, this is done extremely well as you can picture the theme of the story also. It also becomes apparent that Mary adores her husband as the narrator informs you on how Mary loves to luxuriate her husband and that she enjoyed his male glow, this furthermore explains Mary’s unconditional love for her husband. The couple awkwardly argue as Mr Maloney disregards every attempt his wife makes to comfort him. There are lots of compound and complex sentences in this part of the story; it slows down the text which emphasizes the awkwardness the couple are undergoing. As the story begins to become a real drag, a sudden event occurs. The text slows town and has a lot of speech, simple sentences are ever present to make you breath faster thus increasing you heart beat and adding much needed tension. The couple sit down and chat about something the reader is unaware of; anxiety is felt by the reader. As the paragraph starts, you are dubious to what the argument is about, clues hint to what it might be, the husband then talks,’This is going to be a bit of a shock to you’ the word ‘shock’ instantly tells you that something spontaneous...
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