Arthur Conan Doyle used the character named Sherlock Holmes to create a murder mystery genre short story. He uses the clever, sly and mysterious character to capture the readers. At the time the stories were written the Victorians were very frightened of crime because the police at the time weren’t stopping crime as they should, also at the time the fearsome “Jack the Ripper” was loose on the slums of London, so this new character brought some relief to the frightened citizens.
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At the time the police were failing to commit to there job and stop the crime that was taking place. This meant there was a lot of fear about crime around because the people of London had no force to protect themselves from the evil on the streets. At this time Arthur Conan Doyle tapped into this idea and created Holmes, this gave relief to the readers. Doyle had to use one of the main techniques in a murder mystery story to keep the story alive, keeping tension and suspense at a high throughout.
Towards the start of the mystery Doyle builds up the idea of the story by showing the idea of fear in Helen Stoner. When Helen says “It is not cold which makes me shiver” and “It is terror”. This builds up the idea of the story as then she begins to tell Holmes about her problem. By noticing how she is terrified and telling Holmes about the mystery she is facing, we automatically find that we are dealing with a murder mystery genre. The way Holmes observes everything Miss Stoner does shows he is a very clever man and leads you to think she has come to him for him to solve her mystery, this gives us the idea he is a detective, further convincing us that there is a mystery to be solved. At the very begging Sherlock Holmes’s apprentice is talking to us, telling us about him studying Mr Holmes work.
The way Doyle sets up the mystery shows us he is a clever writer as we can always be asking what is going to happen next. When Holmes starts asking questions it starts giving us ideas about the mystery we are dealing with, further setting up the story. We also see the idea of contrast between how we see things. We meet Helen Stoner, a woman who fears for her life, and is shaking with fear; she is in a terrible state. Then we see Sherlock Holmes. He is calm, easy going and already at work the moment he meets his client. Then we meet Dr Grimsby Roylott. He “seizes” things and “storms” about the place, he is a very large man and works with his anger and strength.
We see Helen Stoner as a very fragile and afraid woman. We see that when she enters the room she is very shivery, but this isn’t because its cold, we know this because not only does the writing tell us but it also describes her to be sat next to a fire. We see that Helen stoner is very fragile because she fears for her life. We know this when she says “It is fear, Mr Holmes. It is terror”. This shows that something is frightening her.
We then find out that she needs Holmes to help her. She looks like a “hunted animal” and this shows that she has been through a lot. We see that the way her character is shown to be a typical Victorian woman. Vulnerable, afraid, fragile and unable to defend herself. This shows that the story keeps on fitting into the genre of murder mystery. In the day it was written people reading the story would very easily be able to relate to her as a character and this give more effect to the story as a reader. We are also told about how she looks very old, but is very young, and how the fear she has because of Dr Roylott has made her look almost elderly.
We can see that Sherlock Holmes is portrayed to be a very clever and calm gentleman. We can see he is a very observant man, and is very quick to think things through, this would make the readers feel relieved for Helen Stoner because they would know from this point that he is smart enough to crack the mystery. The way he talks to her as if he already knows the answers to his questions shows him to be a very smart man.
We also see he is a very brave man. We know this because even when staring the large, and frightening Dr Roylott, he manages to stay calm and say things that further enrage the large man. Even when further angering the tyrant he still keeps calm, and keeps himself out of any state of worry, this would further enhance the feel of protection for the reader. The way he further angers the Dr also builds a large amount of tension. This would keep the reader reading ahead.
Dr Roylott is presented as a large frightening man. We know this because of the way we see his first proper entrance into the story. We see this because the door to Holmes living space was “dashed” open by a “Huge man”. This further builds tension in the story as from this point it is obvious the man bursting into the door is Dr Roylott. He is shown to be a strong, aggressive character. We know because of a way he “seizes” a poker and bends it with his bare hands to show his raw strength.
The word “seizes” shows he is a very aggressive man and this would give the reader a feeling of fear which would further build tension. The fact that the entire story is set over one day and not spread out over time shows that the situation is urgent and it cannot be left more than 1 day. This further builds the idea of tension in the story line. The tension is built up over time because as the time goes on the story shows that the woman is in danger of death.
At the time the Victorians would have found this story very frightening. This is because at the time the idea of gypsies living on someone’s’ land was something that wasn’t at all normal. This meant that the people who would read this would find it very peculiar and would find it frightening to hear about. Also the idea of foreign animals walking freely on his land would scare them because this is unusual and these creatures are not just any animals, dangerous animals like cheetahs. They also would be frightened that he had killed his butler in Africa. This would worry the public because at the time the police force weren’t doing there job very well and this made the public very worried about crime.
In the final section the main contrast that is noticeable is the change between the light. The light is dark and all is silent. But when some light flashes in the room the tension automatically begins building up. As the tension builds further the light begins to come through the air shaft and this creates even further tension. When the Idea of time is linked with the idea of changing light, this build the tension because the time seems to slow down as the light builds in the final part of the story.
In the entire story builds tension well, the way it all takes place in a short amount of time shows urgency in the situation and makes the reader feel tense. The language he uses is good for building the tension because he uses words that give a feel of urgency and danger. I think the story builds tension well because the way it was written to fit in with Victorian ideas makes people see how the story was meant to effect the reader.