Sherlock Holmes: Direct Speech Usage

Categories: Holmes

‘The youth was hit in the middle of the back. His arms went out. The impact of the bullet carried him off guard. He reeled towards the pavement. A second bullet struck him in the back of the head.’  This example shows the brutality of the Junta. They shot a youth twice in broad daylight because he ran away from them. This example did not move the story any further with Andres it just shows the rancorousness of the Junta, which from the example we can see that they are to be feared.

Inter-chapters are very effective in creating tension and fear throughout this novel.

Watson uses a lot of direct speech in Talking in Whispers to create fear and tension. Direct speech creates fear and tension because the character tells his feelings to other characters this way you know how other characters feel towards his feelings, for example Isa reacts in a caring loving way towards Andres and it makes you think that perhaps they have a soft spot for each other and will get together later on in the novel.

Direct speech is used throughout the novel helping to create a little bit more tension in places direct speech creates the most amount of fear and tension in the torture scene on pages 105 – 107.

Another story that uses a lot of direct speech is ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This story is set in Victorian England towards the end of the 19th Century. The story is based on the great myth detective Sherlock Holmes and the story is set on one countryside mansion called ‘Stoke Moran Manor House’.

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Doyle also uses a variety of writing techniques such as direct speech, identifying with the character and setting the scene in detail these create tension and fear in this short story.

Doyle creates fear and tension through the character of Dr. Grimesby Roylott. We first hear about him through the words of Helen Stoner. She tells us that he escaped a capital sentence after he beat his native butler to death and she also says that he threw a blacksmith over a parapet into a stream. She also tells the reader he trained as a doctor in India giving him knowledge of Indian medicine and poison. When Grimesby Roylott makes his appearance we find out that he matches Helen Stoner’s description and he is in fact far worse than her description. We find this out from the things he says and does for example

‘”I know you, you scoundrel! I have heard of you before you are Holmes the meddler”‘ You know from this quote he is an impatient man and he is also violent, as Miss Stoner has already stated. From Dr. Roylott action of bending the fire poker, which is on the top of page 176, you find out the strength of Dr. Roylott, which again has already been stated by Miss Stoner.

The setting of Stoke Moran also creates fear and tension mainly because it fits with most horror cliches. It is set in the middle of nowhere in a large house with lots of empty rooms. This creates fear and tension because it makes you think that something is going to jump out at you from the doors to the empty rooms. Another way fear and tension is created through the setting, is that Dr. Roylott keeps a pet baboon and a pet cheetah and lets them run freely around the manor this creates fear as these are wield fierce animals.

Fear and tension are also created in the bedroom of Helen Stoner’s deceased sister. When you get the description of the room by Helen Stoner some parts of her description stand out as being rather peculiar, for example the windows were covered by iron bars and the bed was bolted to the floor this gives the impression that nothing is to be moved, when you get to the end of the story we find out that this is so the snake is able to get onto the bed of its victim.

There is also tension created in Dr. Roylott’s room when you get the description of their being foot marks on the chair and a saucer of milk when the family do not have a cat and a saucer of milk is not enough to settle the hunger of a cheetah. The way this creates fear is that you know that Dr. Roylott is up to something but you don’t know what. To all of these statements we ask the questions why? And what?

Near the beginning of ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ Helen Stoner talks about her sister’s mysterious death. She says that she ran into the room of the cry of her sister and her sister says to her ‘Oh my god! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band.’ This statement by Helen Stoner’s sister makes you ask question what is the speckled band? And it tries to make the reader think that it had something to do with the gypsies because they wear speckled headbands. The question who did it? Is not really asked by the reader the question in this story, as the question is in Doyle’s other Sherlock Holmes stories is how did the accused commit the crime? The story gives obvious points as to who did it and motives as to why Dr. Roylott would want to do such a thing. Points made from Helen Stoner like when she tells Holmes that Dr. Roylott ‘beat his native butler to death’ tells you he is violent and has no problem in removing unnecessary people from the equation.

The greatest amount of fear and tension is created in the d�nouement, the fear and tension is created by many different elements. The darkness the silence and the pistol, these are just some of the elements that create fear and tension. Doyle starts to build up tension for the d�nouement just before the paragraphs of the unravelling of the plot Holmes simply says ‘Have your pistol ready in case we should need it’. This creates tension because of the need of Watson’s revolver, which implies that this is a dangerous case because of the need of a firearm. ‘I could not hear a sound not even The drawing of a breath’. This creates tension because it is a scene of waiting and what they are waiting for could happen at any moment and they are waiting in dark, which creates tension and builds up to a climax of a great amount of tension and fear. After studying both James Watson’s Talking in Whispers and sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ we know both authors create fear and tension within their stories. Although these stories were written at different periods of time they have similarities when creating fear and tension within their stories an example of this would be that both authors use a lot of direct speech to create fear and tension within their stories.

‘You see it, Watson?’ he yelled, ‘you see it’. This is a piece of direct speech from Doyle’s ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’. This creates tension because it is the denouement, the unravelling of the plot. Another direct point of comparison would be that both authors identify the reader with the characters an example of this would be ‘I should have let myself be taken away’ this is from Talking in Whispers and it shows how Andres feels he has been a coward. In my opinion I feel that Talking in Whispers is a better story because of the empathy that you feel for Andres towards the end. I also feel that it uses the techniques mentioned in this essay better than Doyle did in ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’. I also feel that Watson did a better job in creating fear and tension than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Sherlock Holmes: Direct Speech Usage. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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