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The Landlady

An analysis in 9th grade english class (ENG1DG) of a short story.
by

David Gallo

on 7 March 2013

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Transcript of The Landlady

The Landlady Written By Roald Dahl Plot Graph/
Summary You will notice that the falling action has been shaded out. This is simply because there is no falling action. The story ends abruptly after the climax without any further progression or descriptions in the story. It's left for the reader to assume that Billy will be stuffed. Exposition Rising Action CLIMAX Billy is walking through the rain trying to find a place to stay for the night. Billy is a young businessman in a town named Bath, between 1955-1985.
His character and the setting is described.
The situation that leads up to the Initial Incident is explained. Billy turns around and decides to stay at the Bed and Breakfast after feeling a compulsory feeling to stay there.
He meets the Landlady in a creepy manner.

Suspense starts building The Landlady Presentation By:
David,
Martin,

Mitchell and ENG1DG
February 25, 2013 Character Analysis Billy Weaver Untroubled/Unconcerned
Billy dismissed the idea of the landlady being dangerous. He did not suspect anything about the Bed and Breakfast.
He knew the landlady was "off her rocker", but was not at all worried.

Tries to fit in
Billy was trying to act similarly other businessmen higher up in ranks, and successful businessmen, by walking briskly all the time as they do.

Courteous
Billy was nice to the people around him, particularly the landlady.
To quote some passages from the story where Billy was exceptionally nice:

“...It’s about a quarter of a mile along on the other side.’ Billy thanked him and picked up his suitcase...”

“‘...and you may light the gas fire at any time if you feel chilly’. ‘Thank you,’ Billy said. ‘Thank you ever so much.’”

“‘That’s all right,’ Billy answered brightly. ‘You mustn't worry about me.’”

“‘I’m not a big hungry right now, thank you,’ [Billy] said” Landlady Character Analysis Caring to the point of being obsessive
She made sure that Billy was as comfortable as he could be:
- Extremely low price
- She gave him control over his room’s heating
- Billy was granted an entire floor of space
- Hot water bottle in Billy’s bed
- Offered him meals, and gave Billy tea
She made certain that Billy had signed into the log book, because she “never wanted to forget his name”.

“Off her Rocker”/A little crazy
She stuffed her own animals by herself after they died (taxidermy).
She had only two prior residents at her Bed and Breakfast in the past three years, refusing everyone else.
- Billy distinctly remembered the names of the people, and oddly enough, he
remembered them being connected.
She had answered the door immediately after Billy rang the doorbell.
She was very fond of Billy, and said how “perfect” he was, and how he was “exactly right”.
She explained how she’d been waiting for him for a while, and was worried he might not have showed up. Initial Incident Lot of suspense as the atmosphere

Caused mainly by the dialogue and the setting.

The author’s goal was to keep the readers wondering and wanting to see what would happen next.

One example of suspense is when Billy and old woman are talking on the couch. The conversation gets very mysterious when the woman mentions that the two men who stayed in the house before, years ago, are still there.
- The reader wants to learn what will happen next

No particular moral to the story

We think that the story was created to entertain by building suspense. Purpose Atmosphere/Tone/Mood Start of the story: calm and comfortable.
- “The room was wonderfully warm and cozy.”
The atmosphere changes when Billy meets the landlady, to become more mysterious and eerie, giving us the start of suspense.
The suspense increases as Billy learns more disturbing things about the landlady.
The language used by the author, and the dialogue of the characters also adds to the atmosphere being established. Setting Location: Small town of Bath, presumably in England given the dialogue and the names of places.

Time: Between 1955 to 1985. This was the time that a trilby hat was in fashion. Billy wore a new one, along with a brown suit.

The setting significantly influences the atmosphere of the story. Theme We believe that the theme is:
‘Appearances are deceiving’

The landlady and her house seemed very welcoming and kind/cozy, when beneath all that, there is the darkness of the landlady, and what we presume happened to the other visitors (they were killed and stuffed). Narrative Point of View The story is written in third person limited.

Narrated by an unknown voice, seeing only Billy’s thoughts.
If the story were told from the woman’s point of view, then we would probably know her plans far before the end, creating much less suspense.
If the story were told from Billy’s first person point of view, then we would learn much more about Billy and his personal thoughts on the landlady. The story's plot would not be compromised. The purpose was not to develop a conflict

There was no obvious conflict at all

No evident antagonist.

Protagonist: Billy, however he was never in a conflict with another character

Billy and the landlady were the only two characters, and there was no conflict between them.

Even though Billy thought that the landlady was a little crazy, there was never any conflicting ideas, emotions, or actions that took place between them. Conflict and Pro/Antagonist (Or lack therof) Imagery As the story progresses, we learn that the Landlady might not be sweet, but might actually be a murderer.
This is a conveyed in the story a lot though imagery.

We actually see our first example of imagery before Billy enters the Bed and Breakfast. When Billy looks through the window, the scene described makes the reader see a warm and cozy place:

“...the first thing he saw was a bright fire burning in the hearth. On the carpet in front of the fire, a pretty little dachshund was curled up asleep with its nose tucked into its belly. The room itself, so far as he could see in the half darkness, was filled with pleasant furniture. There was a baby grand piano and a big sofa and several plump armchairs, and in one corner he spotted a large parrot in a cage”.
The foreshadowing in the story is usually accompanied with imagery to describe it.

The imagery in the story pairs up nicely with the foreshadowing aspects to create a lot of suspense in the story (which is the story’s purpose). Billy asks if there has been any other tenants that she’s had in two years. The Landlady replies “No, my dear. Only you”
The story ends on that line, leaving the reader wondering what would have happened next.

We infer that the landlady intends to murder and stuff Billy, like what we presume happened to her previous tenants and to her pets. Billy starts to learn odd or disturbing things about the Landlady:

The landlady states that she is very choosy and particular with her tenants and only chooses those who are exactly right, and says how “perfect” Billy is.
This adds to the suspicion in the reader and suspense or mystery to the story

Billy notices that the Lady is slightly off her rocker, but pays no attention to it because the Lady is extremely nice and the price is super cheap. Billy notices a stuffed dog and parrot in the room.
This takes away the coziness that the pets gave to the Bed and Breakfast. The Bed and Breakfast, as well as the landlady seem creepy now.

Billy drinks some tea - which we presume to be laced with cyanide, while the Landlady says that she stuffs all of her pets once they pass away herself (taxidermy)
The reader wonders if Billy is going to be murdered by the landlady, then stuffed like her animals (or like the previous tenants). Billy goes to the sign in book and notice that there are only two other names in the book. He recognizes those names from a newspaper, and remember them being related or linked.
This adds a lot of suspicion and suspense in the reader

The Landlady says that the other tenant are still here on the fourth floor together, still there after three years.
This creates even more suspense
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