The Landlady by Roald Dahl

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A short story which has an unexpected ending is ‘The Landlady' by Roald Dahl. The writer uses clever structure and effective characterisation to create such a surprising and satisfactory finale. The story is about a young man named Billy Weaver. He is just starting a new job in Bath and, whilst looking for accommodation, he comes across a compelling Bed and Breakfast. He can't walk away from the building and ends us ringing the bell. He barely takes his finger away from the bell when, what appears to be, a charming middle-aged lady greets him. The Landlady tells him how inexpensive it is to stay there so he promptly accepts and enters the boarding house. However, Billy is unaware that he has entered the home of a taxidermist. The…show more content…
It is revealed that the dog is in fact dead and has been stuffed, which doesn't give a nice impression of the house. Another clever feature of the structuring of this story is the use of enigma and the deferral of information. The Landlady seemed to know precisely that Billy was going to arrive at her door, "It's all ready for you my dear". This creates tension because it makes the reader wonder why everything was set up. It suggests that the Landlady has psychic abilities which are quite strange and mysterious. Another strange aspect of the Landlady actions is her ability to move extremely quickly, "He presses the bell. Far away in the back room he heard it ringing, and at once- it must have been at once because he had barley taken his finger away from the bell-button- the door swung open and a woman was standing there". The fact that the Landlady was so fast in opening the door and how she anticipated the doorbell reveals how extraordinary and bizarre she was. Another clue as to the suspiciousness of the Landlady is that she reveals how one of the other guests didn't have "a blemish on his body". It is quite unusual that she knows this considering that all he did was stay in her Bed and Breakfast. Also, the fact that the animals in the house were stuffed gives another clue as to what happened to the other men but Billy is too naïve to realise this. The way the Landlady looks at Billy and speaks to him is also an important clue as to what happened to the other
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