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Foreshadowing in The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Foreshadowing Examples in The Adventure of the Speckled Band:

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

🔒 13

"slip your revolver into your pocket...."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

By bringing Watson’s revolver into the narrative, Doyle evokes the dramatic principle of “Chekhov’s gun.” As Anton Chekhov famously wrote, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.” Look for the resolution to the tension of the revolver.

"‘Oh, my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!’ ..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

The term "the speckled band" is used in the title and will be repeated several times throughout the story. The phrase will be one of the most important factors of the plot later on.

"and stared into the crackling fire..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

Note the emphasis on the fire and warmth. This indicates that the weather is very cold outside, a fact that will come into play at the climax of the story.

"the tassel actually lying upon the pillow..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

The placement of the tasseled end of the bell-rope, or bell-pull, is very important to the rest of the story.

"“It is a little cold for the time of the year,” said Holmes..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

The characters refer to the cold weather several times in this story. The cold is a very important factor later in the story.

"and sent for medical aid from the village..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

Note the peculiarity of Roylott, who was a doctor himself, sending out for medical aid.

"got a dog-cart at the Crown Inn, which is opposite..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

This establishes that there is an inn very close to Roylott's big house. This is important for Holmes and Watson later in their investigation.

"It is probable that he will be away all day, and that there would be nothing to disturb you..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

It is "probable" but not certain that the dangerous Dr. Roylott will be "away all day." The uncertainty of Roylott’s whereabouts make the inspection of the rooms at Stoke Moran much more tense. The owner might return and catch Holmes and Watson invading his domain, which, based on Roylott’s characterization would lead to a violent confrontation.

"bending forward and patting her forearm..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

This is unusual behavior for Sherlock Holmes, who shuns displays of emotion. He is probably doing it because he wants to look at her forearm. This will be important to the story later.

"something very pressing..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

This is foreshadowing the suspenseful nature of the case.

"then her sister must have been undoubtedly alone when she met her mysterious end..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

The whole mystery turns on the problem of how Helen's sister could have been killed when she was "undoubtedly alone when she met her mysterious end." This aspect of the locked-room mystery proves most troubling for Holmes.

"not less than £1000 a year..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

That was a very good annual income in Victorian times. Helen Stoner does not say what "annual sum" was to be paid to the girls if and when they married, but she does say that the big house at Stoke Moran "is itself crushed under a heavy mortgage"; so it would be hard for Dr. Roylott to part with a share of the thousand-pounds annual income. This becomes an important part of the story later on.

"In a fit of anger, however, caused by some robberies which had been perpetrated in the house, he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence..."   (The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

This is an indication of Dr. Roylott's vicious temper, which will be important later in the story. 

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