Historical and cultural context Essay
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All three of these stories create strange but similar atmospheres. Three similarities that these stories have is that they all took place around the 1880s/1890s,all three stories in the beginning always take place at 221B Baker Street, and all three stories seem to take place in and out of Victorian London. The mystery of “The Red-Headed League” takes place mainly around Victorian London and is described as very busy, crowded and swarming full of pedestrians. There are references to carriages, cellars and lanterns throughout the story so this will give you an image of the kind of atmosphere to expect.
The way London is described it will probably strike people as it being old fashioned if you compare it from then and now when read. The value of money was different from then and now. In “The Red-Headed League” i?? 4 a week is seemed to be an awful lot, because most people in those days would maybe make that in a month or two.
The story shows conflict between rich and poor people. The Blue Carbuncle is set in a few places around London, and has references to old buildings and carriages when Holmes and Watson are in the search of the goose.
The background for all these stories reflects London of a hundred years ago. This was when forty percent of the population were servants. The police as you would notice belonged to lower social class and were poorly thought of at the time because of the inefficiency and corruption. Another feature in contrast to today is that the trains always seem to run on time, carriages are always there when needed and Holmes and Watson are never delayed by the traffic.
The structures between all three stories do not seem to be all that different. All three stories have unusual and strange titles (The Speckled Band, The Red-Headed League, and The Blue Carbuncle) that intrigue the reader. The title gives you an idea to what the story will be about. They all have exciting openings, because they all start at 221B Baker Street with Holmes sitting down talking to a strange and mysterious person with Watson interrupting for the case to be retold and explained to us readers.
When a new a new character is introduced it grabs the readers attention wanting to find out more so they keep on reading. In the beginnings of all three stories whenever Holmes is interrupted by Watson the new character will explain the case again so that Holmes will start to observe the person and make mental notes about him/her. Holmes is able to find clues just from the person and the clues are used to build up tension so that Holmes can make deductions.
There are often flashbacks from the new character to give a history of them that will obviously be linked to the mystery. The dramatic ending for “The Speckled Band” was danger but justice was done as the villain had got what was coming to him. In “The Red-Headed League” the dramatic ending was that justice was done as the criminals were arrested and the dramatic ending for The Blue Carbuncle was not danger and nor was it justice done because the character had owned up to his mistake and said he had punishment enough.
The points in short story structure (how the writer puts the text together) are as follows: Paragraph structure which is how the meaning is revealed from sentence, book structure which might affect the reader if the book is split into chapters, with language of implications and what is left unsaid, through the narrator which is how the story is told and with imagery which is how the emotions and scenes are built up.
The language which is used for all three stories is quite old fashioned. The words and sentences seem confusing as they are not what we use today. For example instead of “Holmes said” like we would say now it is “said he”. The language is very different but understandable. The stories use old fashion words like: dog cart, would fain, forceps, whimsical, commissionaire, billycock, labyrinth, unimpeachable, deduce, inferences, foresight… etc.
The stories all give detailed descriptions for unusual objects, new strange characters and peculiar places by using similes and metaphors. Holmes and Watson both in the three stories use many similes and metaphors to give us descriptions of things. The dialogue is shown by Watson as he asks all the questions the reader wants to ask, and when Holmes impatiently explains what to him is obvious, Watson is acting on our behalf. The story gets retold just for us with more detailed language and more explanations.