Purposes of Titles
All stories have titles, right? Sometimes, those titles are just that, titles. At other times, the titles are there to give the reader hints about the story they are going to read. Titles tell how the story should be told. In detective fiction, it can give clues about the inevitable murder. Using examples from the stories: “The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tape-Measure Murder”, and “The House on Goblin Wood” by John Dickson Carr, multiple connections between the story and its title will be explained.
For the story “The House on Goblin Wood” by John Dickson Carr, the title is hinting at where the murder took place both times. Throughout the story, the scene of the crime is described many times. Masters’ is telling H.M. that Victoria Adams’ family “owned a cottage…on the edge of Goblin Wood, opposite the lake” (LADF 139) and that at when the child disappeared the house was “the place was all locked up inside against drafts” (LADF 139). That is the first time in that the scene of the crime is brought up. After the first description of the house, it is mentioned again when H.M and company saw when they were driving up to the cottage is described as, “stretched the ten-acre gloom of what is fancifully known as Goblin Wood” (LADF 141). The title points out that something happened at a house in Goblin Wood and it was soon found out that a murder took place there.
The title of this story, “The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allan Poe, is telling the reading what the main point of the story is. Purloined, meaning stolen, tells the reader that the main focus of the story is going to be the mystery around the stolen letter. During their discussion, the letter kept appearing in their conversation is many ways. At one point it is said that “I have received personal information…that a certain document…has been purloined”. This started the...