Compare and Contrast Roald Dahl Lamb to the Slaughter Essay
These stories are both murder novels but are told in different ways. In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ we are informed early on in the story who the murderer is and the mystery of the story is to figure out how she manages to outwit and fool the police whereas in ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ we are left to discover the identity of the murderer and how Sherlock Holmes works it out by ourselves. The writer in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is omniscient, a person that sees all the action, and the story is based on the character, Mrs Maloney, not the writer.
This is quite different compared to the ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ because this is written as someone’s prospective (Watson’s) and so this story is based on the writer. The sentences and paragraphs in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ are long and not very detailed or complex “The room was warm and clean” and “she took his coat and hung it in the closet” are quotes that prove my statement. The sentences in ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ are very short and complex “It was early in April in the year ’83 that I woke one morning” and “I had no keener pleasure” also back up my statement.
The speech and description in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is occasionally reported, shortened, but not in ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ where Watson does not sum up what Sherlock Holmes has just said or described. The setting in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is described as warm and cosy by the writer to make it seem that this is not a murder story at the first read of the initial paragraph “The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight”.
This sets an immediate image of what the room looked like in your head. In ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ it starts off with Watson describing the cold and dark times he had encounted he has had with Sherlock Holmes “On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange”.
Lamb to the Slaughter’ was set in more modern times “Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos bucket”. ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ is set in the early Nineteenth Century “There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way”. There are many characters in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ but the story is concentrated mainly on Mr and Mrs Maloney, Sam and Jack Noonan. We are introduced to 4 main characters through out the story and we are not told the exact number of other characters like the police.
In the ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ the story is concentrated on 3 main characters. We meet Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Roylott and Mrs Hudson. We are told about a lot more but we do not actually meet them in the story. The murderer in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is written in a way that makes you feel sympathetic for her because she is pregnant and obviously cares a lot about the baby “What were the laws about murderers with unborn children? Did they kill them both … mother and child?
Or did they wait until the tenth month? What did they do? Mary Maloney didn’t know. And she certainly wasn’t prepared to take a chance”. In ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ the murderer has not been described as a nice person and you do not feel sympathetic towards him when he dies because he planned to kill his other daughter but it backfired on him “See that you keep yourself out of my grip” he snarled, and hurling the twisted poker into the fireplace he strode out of the room”.
In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ the victim is Mr Maloney and when he is killed the reader does not feel sympathetic towards him because of what he says to Mrs Maloney and we know it is something big because of her reaction and how Mr Maloney says it with no emotion “So there it is”, he added “And I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you but there simply isn’t any other way”. In ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ the reader is made to feel sympathetic towards the victim because she hadn’t done any thing to provoke Mr Roylett to murder her, it was only in his greediness that she was murdered.
The police in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ are not very professional and they allow their judgements to be clouded by the fact that they know Mrs Maloney. Also they accept drinks from her when she offers which is strictly forbidden because they are on duty and they know this “Well” he answered, “It’s not strictly allowed, but I might take just a drop to keep me going”. In ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ Sherlock Holmes does not make assumptions until he knows for sure that he is correct and even then he does not make many.
Lamb to the Slaughter’ is set at least 100 years apart from ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ and so it is written in informal, chatty and slang language. They say “haven’t” instead of have not (contractions) “I haven’t made any supper because it’s Thursday”. In ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ the language is formal and proper English because it is set in the Nineteenth Century when people did not speak much slang “I cannot imagine” and “Sinister quest upon which we were engaged” (cannot instead of can’t and we were instead of we’re).
The irony of ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is when the police eat the murder weapon and as they do one of Jack Noonan’s colleagues says, “Personally, I think it’s right here on the premises” and then another replies “Probably right under our very noses. What do you think Jack? ” In ‘Adventure of the Speckled Band’ the irony occurs when the murderer of the story, Mr Roylett, sends a snake to attack and kill his daughter in law and Sherlock Holmes irritate the snake and it kills Mr Roylett instead “Some of the blows of my cane came home and roused its snakish temper, so that it flew upon the first person it saw (Mr Roylett)”.