Does crime exist in all of us? Yes! This is what I have found interesting from my study of crime stories. Crime is in all of us but whether or not we can suppress it is another matter. Many people can suppress crime, but there is a minority that cannot. People have written stories and made films about crime, and they are interesting because they are about people who are different from us, because they cant suppress their evil within. Verbal, in ‘The Usual Suspects’, is a very composed criminal.
He can be extremely aggressive and explosive when he needs to be, but as we see at the end, he is extremely controlled and calm, and people cannot see through him. In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, Mary Maloney, seems to be a very quiet person and is very guarded when talking to the officers and to everybody else, but we know what she is capable of. Authors and directors make criminals appear to be very calm people and look as though they are not capable of crime, in order to give the reader a surprise and to keep the reader guessing.
This technique is used very often and more often than not there is another character who seems more likely to be the criminal, and the quiet characters, like verbal turn out to be the criminals. Furthermore, this technique is used to add to suspense. We do not know what the criminal will do next, whether they will commit again, whether they will be found out or whether the criminal will buckle under the pressure and give himself or herself up. In ‘The Tell Tale Heart’, the criminal buckles under the pressure and he gives himself up.
The murder he committed eats him up inside and at the point where the police inquire about a murder he explodes into panicked screams, ‘I admit the deed! – Tear up the planks! – Here, here. ‘ The reader is led to believe that the criminal is mentally ill, and I’m sure that everyone knows that he is. The reader learns this when he first tells us that he is not mad, because mentally ill people are usually in denial. Then when he begins to tell the reader that he loved the old man and that he had no desire for his gold and that the old man had never done anything wrong to him.
Then all of a sudden, ‘ I think it was the eye… ne of his eyes resembled that of a vulture… my blood ran cold… I made up my mind to take the life of the old man… rid myself of the eye. ‘ He is actually going to kill the old man because of his vulture like eye. This is what gives his case away, and he has done this in the second paragraph. The reader gets further impressions of his madness later on in the story, when the mad man tells the reader how he opened the door, ‘ oh, so gently! … I made an opening sufficient for my head… I thrust in my head. ‘
He then goes on to say, ‘ It took me an hour to place my whole head… ee him as he lay upon his bed. ‘ He is mad, a sane person would not stand for an hour while placing their head in a gap to see an old man sleeping! This is what I found interesting, the fact that after all that time, spent on watching the old man and his eye, and after thinking that he was going to get away with it, he just exploded inside and gave himself up. In ‘The Usual Suspects’ the criminal, Verbal Kint, has a more nervous misdemeanour and rambles incoherently, trying to completely avoid all possibility of giving away important answers. Moreover, he is a cripple.
He gets away with the crime, because he is disabled and people believe that he is completely incapable of firing a gun, let alone committing a crime. Bryan Singer makes Verbal look and act this way because it creates suspense. Because Verbal is a cripple the watcher doesn’t believe that he is the criminal and so the watcher does not know what will happen and so a better ending is created. There were many quotes that I found interesting in the film and here are two both from the mouth of the devil himself, Verbal.
One of the quotes that I found interesting was, “How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss? It is interesting because, once again Verbal is showing fear, and reinforcing everyone’s thoughts of his inability and trying to show people that he is not the criminal. When Verbal says this he is acting the way he has throughout the film, cowardly, which is to prove that he is not the criminal. Another quote that I found interesting was at the end of the film, when Verbal had finished speaking to the policeman and had left the building, and had vanished. The camera then goes back to when Verbal was with the policeman, and he says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist… And just like that he was gone. ”
Then the film finishes. I found this interesting because, he himself, otherwise known as Keyser Soze, was considered to be the devil. Although not many people knew he was the Keyser because he did such a good job at pretending to be a cripple. He pulled the same trick the devil pulled, he convinced everyone he wasn’t the devil and that he did not exist to be the devil, and that he wasn’t evil at all. He then pulled another of the devil’s tricks… he vanished. ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ has a similar criminal, compared to ‘The Usual Suspects’, in the way that you don’t expect them to commit such crimes.
Mary Maloney is just the quiet housewife type, wouldn’t expect her to hurt a fly, but would expect her to have your dinner ready by the time you get home from work. She seems like a very calm person, ‘ there was a slow smiling air about her, and about everything she did’. This gives the impression that she is a calm and happy person. Moreover, she was six months pregnant, ‘ for this her sixth month with child’. I don’t believe that anyone would expect a pregnant woman to be a murderer. In ‘Tell Tale Heart’ suspense is created in the second from last paragraph, when he begins to hear a ringing noise in his head.
As the noise grows louder, the sentences get shorter and he becomes troubled and restless, ‘ I foamed – I raved – I swore’. Also in that sentence Edgar Allan Poe uses hyphens instead of commas, this is to speed up the story and create suspense. At the end of the paragraph, there are very short sentences and the use of exclamation marks and hyphens, these all speed up the story and create suspense. In the short story, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, Roald Dahl creates suspense by making the reader wait for so long for something to happen, and a clever reader will know that with the artistic capabilities of himself, there will be a great surprise.
The language is very, calming when talking about Mary Maloney but when her husband is about to enter the language becomes dull and uninteresting, this is to show that something bad may be about to happen or that something bad will happen to him. Roald Dahl tells the reader how she listens to the sound of her husband pulling up in the driveway and the sound him closing the door and then putting the key in the lock. This couldn’t be anymore depressing and it has the language to match, ‘ tyres on the gravel outside… car door slamming… footsteps passing the window… key turning in the lock. ‘ This is all very boring and fatuous.
When he comes in there isn’t much speaking, also boring, as the only thing he says is hello, and then after that he gives her monosyllabic answers for everything she asks, ‘Tired, darling? ‘ ‘ Yes, I’m tired. ‘ The lack of excitement or just something interesting is all for a reason. Dahl has made the beginning so boring, the language the setting the story, because he his building up suspense. Also, there is even more suspense created because the reader does not know whether her clever deceit will pay off and whether she will get away with the murder of her husband after a fatal blow to the head with a frozen leg of lamb.
This is what I find most interesting about this story. The way Dahl, makes it so boring but yet the reader must read on to find out what is going to happen, whether it will stay boring or whether it will completely shock him/her. ‘The Usual Suspects’, has a great plot. It is structured in a reasonably conventional style, where something has happened, and someone tells the story, but it’s the story and the ending that gives the film its edge and that makes it interesting. The film starts off with a man getting shot twice in the head and then the camera moves away from the scene and over to some ropes and crates.
It does this to show that these ropes and crates have some significance. Much later on in the film, Verbal Kint claims to have been hiding behind the crates watching the incident. The policeman believes him, but we find out that he was actually the man shooting. The technique of showing or telling, the reader/ watcher the ending first is not often used, when it is, it has a great effect. Although the ending has been shown or told, the watcher/ reader doesn’t always know that that was the ending until the ending happens again.
The structure of the plot is interesting because, it is fairly the technique of the end being at beginning and at the end, is fairly unorthodox. Also because the ending is so surprising. Although some people maybe lovers of crime stories, and would have thought that he was the mass murderer and drug dealer, straight away, but to many others he was nowhere near the top of their list. The structure of the plot in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, is completely different to ‘The Usual Suspects’. It is different because it doesn’t start with something big already happening.
It has a very slow start, and is very boring. Even throughout the whole of the story the pace never picks up and nothing exciting happens. Mrs Maloney murders her husband, and then there is the risk of her being caught but that is it. Whereas in ‘The Usual Suspects’, the pace of the story goes up and down. Also, in the short story, there isn’t anyone narrating the story. So the reader knows that what is being told is the truth. In the film, however, Verbal Kint is telling the story and the watcher although believes him, knows that there may be an element of falseness in what he is saying.
The watcher finds out later that most of what he said was a lie. In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ the reader knows who the killer is once the murder has been committed, and so there is a different type of suspense created. The reader is waiting to see if Mrs Maloney gets found out. Whereas in the film, the watcher is waiting to find out whom the mass murderer is and whether he will be found out. There are two lots of suspense and so you may say that the film is more interesting to watch.