The Knife Essay, Research Paper
By: Alfred Hitchcock
Everybody has read a horror story before at some point, but a story from Alfred
Hitchcock is different because at the end he leaves the reader thinking what has
happened. In "The Knife" he uses Plot, Setting, and Conflict to do just this.
Edward Dawes and Herbert Smithers are just two friends having a drink with each
other, but one of them has a knife that was found in a nearby sewer drain. Herbert is
cleaning it widly as if he was possesed. Then a red ruby appears on the knife when he is
done cleaning it, now the madness breaksout like a terrible plague..
While Herbert is admiring the knife, the maid walks in and asks to see the knife,
but all of a sudden Herbert goes insane out of his mind when the maid touched him,
then he stares right at the maid with a devilish look, and out of the blue he stabbed her,
next thing you know the maid is on the floor dead and Herbert runs out the house as fast
as he can. The reader may think this is the climax, but it is not, it is the rising action
leading up to the climax. Alfred Hitchcock does not tell the reader why he stabbed her,
he likes to leaving the reader thinking and get more into the story, which is kind of like a
hook to keep the reader reading.
The climax is where he will get the readers interested more in the story. After
Herbert runs out Edward Dawes picks up the knife and notifys the police of the incident.
once he has called the police for some reason he goes into the kitchen to clean the
wicked knife. While he is cleaning it, it slips out of his hand and cuts his arm, then his
wife walks in and trys to help him, then Edward goes bezerk just like his friend Herbert
and for no reason stabbs her in her chest.
The falling action and conclusion get a little weird because the police get to the
scene, and they start discussing about this, but the sergeant remembers a murder on the
same street a while back, and the person that was murdered on this street was Marie
Kelly, the last victim of Jack The Ripper. When Jack The Ripper was getting away he
dropped the knife into a sewer drain. Both men say it was the knife that made them stabb
the two women.
All of Jack The Ripper’s victims were women. This how the story ends. "He
picked up the knife, gripped if firmly, and struck a pose, winking broadly.
"Be careful, Miss Maples!" he said. "Jack The Ripper!" Miss Maples giggled.
"Well now", she breathed. Let me look at it, may I Sergeant Tobins, if you do not
"Her fingers touched his, and Sergeant Tobins drew his hand back abruptly. His
face flushed, and a fierce anger unnacountably flared up in him at the touch of Miss
Miss Maple’s hand, but as he stared into her plain, bewildered face, the anger was
soothed by the pleasurable tingling warmth in his right wrist. And as he took a swift
step toward her, there was a strange, sweet singing in his ears, high and shrill and
faraway. Or was it the sound of a woman screaming?" That’s the end of the story and
that’s how Alfred Hitchcock leaves his readers.
The setting physically is in a house in the in the evening. Two men and two
women, one a wife of one of the men, and the other the maid. The mood is not that
frightening especially for a horror story. Here is one quote, "The wind blew calmly that
evening while we were inside having some drinks and talking."
But the mood starts to get tense and rapid when women starting getting killed
because of the knife.
In "The Knife" the conflict was between men vs. women, or upon the reader’s
decision it could be knife vs. women because all of the women that were killed, were
killed everytime they touced the man holding the horrible knife which gave the men
bloodlust. All of the women killed were all killed by a different man, but all with the