Conan Doyle and Graham Greene Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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Compare how Conan Doyle and Graham Greene use the detective fiction genre to deceive the reader in The Man with the Twisted Lip and The Third Man. The Detective story is written to deceive the reader this is true of both The Third Man by Graham Greene and Conan Doyles the Man with the Twisted Lip. Both writers use your knowledge of other detective stories to lure you into a false understanding that this is one of them. We expect that the stories are another Whodunit murder mystery but really, it is the writer fooling us, as it is the mystery of the murdered being alive.

Conan Doyle sets up expectations in the reader by setting the story around an opium den, which was greatly feared at the time of being written. The setting of an opium den would conjure up many dark images and so makes us jump to conclusions about the murder we, the reader, assume that anyone associated with an opium den could be a murderer. Doyle makes the main suspect a beggar who many people look down on, adding more to the assumption that he is the murderer of Neville St Clair.  In fact, in the whole of that floor there was no one to be found, save a crippled wretch of hideous aspect, who, it seems, made his home there.

Doyle describes Hugh Boone, the beggar, as the creature and uses such descriptions as greasy disfigured horrible scar and a bull dog chin to build up a mental image in our heads of a rather revolting man, atypical baddie of a detective story. Graham Greene sets The Third Man in post-war Vienna, during which Austria is still occupied territory and is spilt into four zones. The breakdown in communication between the zones has resulted in poor law and order in the city. Greene mentions early on that Harry is a racketeer

A very long spell (in prison)if it hadnt been for the accident. And He was about the worst racketeer who ever made a dirty living in this city. We are told what he does for a living but not how he does it until further into the book. During the time that we find out what his profession is, to what he sells the story of Harrys death change with each person Martin questions. This makes us realise quite soon that Harry did not die in an accident but under suspicious circumstances. Graham Greene uses a police officer to narrate the story. The figure of authority makes us belive what he is telling us and our natural response is not to doubt him. Greene throughout the story never mentions Martins current status and refers to him in the past he always tried instead of he always tries for example, this makes us wonder if Martins is still alive.

Rollo Martins protested limes innocence until he found concrete evidence to prove otherwise. We feel sorry for him and want to belive Limes innocence to, this leads us further away from the truth. The romance between Martins and Anna is a side plot put in to add another aspect to the detective story, but also to distract our attention away from the reality, that Harry faked his own death leaving a devoted friend and his lover behind in order to escape police capture. However with Annas genuine grief over Harrys death is the same as Rollo protesting Harrys innocence, we want to belive them.

Conan Doyle uses Doctor Watson as the narrator, as he has in the other Sherlock homes stories. In The Man with the Twisted Lip Watson joins Homes after collecting a man from an opium den, setting the scene immediately in a sinister atmosphere. The problem is told to the reader at the same time as Watson. This means there is a character in the story that we can identify with, as they know just as much as we do. The mysteries leaves us with no explanation as to how a man can be seen in a room then appear to have vanished. Because we, the reader, have no idea of how the disappearance happened, we are given an explanation that, as we have no other theory, chooses to accept.

Graham Greene uses the crimes of Harry Lime to distract us from any real clues that there are. There are two men at the funeral, one of which forgets to drop a wreath onto the coffin- a sign of grief of or knowing that the body being buried is not of Harry Lime.  There must be something phoney about a man who wont take baldness gracefully This takes suspicion away from the fake death of Harrys and puts it on those who were with him when he died. Over all both writers, use our expectations of a typical detective story against us. They pull the wool over our eyes in what are enjoyable story is to read.

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