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In “The Speckled Band”, Conan Doyle’s purposes are more straightforward. The extended narrative delivered by Dr Watson as an opening, sets the story within a series which were written for a mass audience which Conan Doyle wants to entertain. It is made clear that crime never pays and that criminals will always be caught and/or punished. Indirectly, readers are warned of the dangers involved in keeping wild animals. Conan Doyle wants the readers to admire Sherlock Holmes as he cleverly pieces together clues, but not to put together their own theories.
It is also possible that the character of Sherlock Holmes became so popular because he was able to restore confidence in law and order, at a time when criminals such as “Jack the Ripper” terrorised society. In both stories there is murder within a family. In “The Speckled Band”, the motive behind the murder of the stepdaughter is to maintain the doctors income; “She had a considerable sum of money… should be allowed to each of us in the event of our marriage.
” Money is also involved in “The Veldt”.
The story is about a rich family who have used their wealth to have their house fitted with futuristic technology which then becomes instrumental in bringing about the parent’s deaths. Both stories make a moral point that money and material possessions are not the root of happiness. The motive behind the children committing parenticide is more complicated, but it is based on the fact that they hate their parents.
Both writers use unusual exotic animals as the instruments of murder, these add interesting details and descriptions. Both animals used by the “murderers”, are generally feared and respected by people.
In the Sherlock Holmes story, the snake forms a believable part of the plot. But in “The Veldt”, the lions are part of the inventive landscape created by the author. Sherlock Holmes and David McClean have many similarities, but whilst they have these similarities, they also have their differences. In “The Speckled Band”, Sherlock Holmes is the central character in the story. He is mentioned throughout most scenes personally. In “The Veldt”, Mr McClean plays a fundamental role towards the end of the story but he is referred to obliquely at the beginning; “I just want you to look at it that’s all, or call a psychologist in to look at it.
” Both men are intelligent: Mr McClean must be well educated because he is psychologist and to become one you must have a degree. Even though he is a clever man, he does not seem to have much common sense, quick wits or intuition; “can’t say I did… but, oh, really nothing. ” Sherlock Holmes seems to have an almost encyclopaedic mind, which he uses to apply knowledge to his cases; ” “It is a swamp adder! ” cried Holmes; “the deadliest snake in India. He has died within ten seconds of being bitten… ” ” He identifies the snake immediately and the origin of it and then explains the effects.
He possesses one of the greatest detective minds in fiction. He always solves his cases by analysing facts then using deduction. For example he noticed that the bell rope was a dummy and then by deducing all of the other entrances for the killer/murder weapon to come in by, he realised that something must have come in through the hole. In “The Speckled Band”, Sherlock Holmes is approached by Helen Stoner to solve her problem; “Oh, sir, do you not think you could help me, too, and at least throw a little light through the dense darkness that surrounds me? ”
Similarly, The Hadleys go to Mr McClean with their problem in “The Veldt”. There is a striking difference in their attitude to what they are doing, when Holmes makes an error, he openly corrects himself; ” ” I had,” said he, “come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. ” ” For Holmes, his goal is to discover the truth. He explains how he followed the wrong line of investigation when Helen Stoner mentioned her sister saw a speckled band. He goes on to explain how observed facts e.
g. the bell rope and the bed clamped to the floor, caused him to revise his theory. McClean develops his ideas and theories in a more haphazard, vague way. He could be just playing with words. He says that he can trust his “hunches” and “instincts” rather than using concrete facts; “My dear George, a psychologist never saw a fact in his life. He only hears about feelings, vague things. ” He describes the nursery as becoming “a channel towards destructive thoughts. ” He then questions George Hadley about the children’s behaviour before suggesting a solution.
When Sherlock Holmes is explaining anything, he always appears to the reader to be fully in control of the facts. However, Mr McClean seems to be unaware of how disturbed the children’s behaviour really is. The reader would not agree with his analysis. Because his solutions are so simplistic, the consequences are fatal. He seems too casual with his analysis and advice. Mr McClean, on the other hand is a professional who seems amateurish. He is employed as a psychologist. We feel he only works to earn a living. Sherlock Holmes has a passion for the job he does and we are told does not do it for the money;
“for, working as he did rather for the love of his art than the acquirement of wealth,” He is an amateur who seems to be the perfect professional. The deaths at the end of the stories cast different lights on the two characters; Holmes prevented an innocent victim being killed while the doctor deserved his fate. Therefore Holmes remains a hero and the story ends neatly: evil is overcome and the innocent survive. However Mr McClean was partly responsible for the deaths of George and Lydia and is judged as flawed. He is left, perhaps at the mercy of two emotionally damaged, sinister children.
Roylott is classically depicted as the perpetrator of crimes and is dramatically introduced as someone whose actions and eventual death are “even more terrible than the truth. ” He has an infamous reputation for immense strength and uncontrollable anger. He ahs been convicted of one murder and is suspected of another. When he is first presented in body to the reader, his evil presence resembles “a fierce old bird of prey. ” He challenges Sherlock Holmes as though a duel was about to be fought. The fight for victory is sustained between the two characters until the final events of the story unfold.
In “The Veldt”, the instigator of the murder, Peter, is less clearly drawn, and not presented as a rival to the psychologist. As with other features of the story, the reader only gradually understands Peter’s role as his mental instabilities become clearer. In both stories, language helps to set the location and the period. In “The Veldt” the language reveals that the story is set in America. The use of words such as “mom” and the stated currency of “dollars” tell us this. Other specially created words like “odorophonics” and “automaticity” suggest that it is set in the future.
They are combinations of existing words to subtly suggest a future time. The tone is informal and sometimes the conversations are formed from snatches of sentences. The couple use abbreviations normal for everyday speech e. g. “don’t” and they use familiar sayings like “nothings too good for our children. ” Whilst Ray Bradbury tries to give his story a futuristic feel, sometimes the things the family does are very reminiscent of the fifties/sixties e. g. having supper for four. The author uses lots of rich visual and stimulating language when he is describing the Veldt; “Now the hidden odorophonics were beginning to blow a wind of odour…
on George Hadley’s upturned sweating face. ” The language outside the nursery is functional and provides a contrast to the description within. This also emphasises the power of the nursery in the narrative and encourages the reader to imagine and to believe in The Veldt. Throughout the story, the third person is used, which makes the reader feel like a detached observer, and more likely to be critical of events as they unfold. The writer always says George Hadley, never George on it’s own. This suggests that he does not want the reader to empathise with the parents as it is very distant.
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