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Examine How Arthur Conan Doyle Builds Tension And Sustains Mystery For The Reader In The Speckled Band

2131 words - 9 pages

Examine how Arthur Conan Doyle builds tension and sustains mystery for the reader in the speckled Band

The story ‘The Speckled Band’ written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1892 is a mystery story. A young woman named Helen Stoner consults the detective Sherlock Holmes about the suspicious death of her sister, Julia. One night, after conversing with her twin sister about her big day, Julia screamed and came to the hallway where Helen came out to see her, in Julia's dying words she said "it was the band, the speckled band!" Julia had been engaged to be married and, had she lived, would have received an annual of two hundred and fifty pounds from her late mother's income. Now Helen is engaged to ...view middle of the document...

When we are first introduced to Helen Stoner we know that something has agitated her in some way. This is shown when Dr Watson says, “A young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement.” The reader is therefore wondering straight way what has happened to Helen Stoner to make her turn up at Holmes door so early in the morning. Helen Stoner is presented in mourning (upset about someone who has died. Mourning lasted for a set length of time in Victorian times). “A lady dressed in black and heavily veiled.” Helen Stoner is wearing black and has covered her face with a veil. People usually wear black when they are in mourning. In Victorian England they would also wear a veil, although nowadays we would not have the veil. Also Helen Stoner is very terrified. “It is not cold which makes me shiver… It is fear…” This shows that Helen Stoner is so scared that she cannot stop shivering. Something really bad must have happened to make her so afraid. The thing that Helen stoner says that makes the audience think that something is not right is when she says, “It is fear, Mr Holmes. It is terror.” This suggests that she is scared about something that happened to her or someone really close to her. At the start Helen stoner is presented as nervous at first. “For I observe you are shivering.” In this point that Arthur Conan Doyle shows how perceptive Sherlock Holmes is. It also builds tension and sustains mystery by showing that something is affecting Helen stoner nervous. When Helen stoner raised her veil as she spoke we clearly get the image that Helen stoner is clearly terrified. This is shown when, “Drawn and grey, with restless, frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal.” By using this simile that Arthur builds tension and a sense of mystery by showing the reader that how Helen stoner is vulnerable like a prey. Also something awful might have happened to Helen Stoner. “Her hair was short with premature grey.” This shows that whatever has happened to Helen Stoner must be really bad to make her hair go grey. This shows the problem is a major one and not something small and silly.

When the Speckled Band was written the police at that time were not good. Some of the police officers were exposed as corrupt. Many Victorians had a deep resentment against the police in London, as they did not appear to be protecting the public. Detectives existed because detectives picked out every single detail whereas that police at that time did not. Sherlock Holmes is shown to be a great detective by cracking every cases and picking up lots aspect. “For I observe the second half of a return ticket you must have left early.” This gives the impression that how Sherlock Holmes picks out every single detail and looks into it very carefully. The Arthur Conan Doyle uses Dr Watson as the narrator to show how well Sherlock Holmes is thought of by those around him. Dr Watson admires Sherlock Holmes. “I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes…” This...

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