'The Landlady' by Roald Dahl

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'The Landlady' is a short story about a young lad called Billy travelling to Bath on a business trip. He arrives in Bath in the evening and looks for accommodation. Bath was an unfamiliar place to Billy so he was unsure of the area. Billy was guided by a porter who recommended the 'Bell and Dragon' because it was close by, but Billy never went. Although the landlady offered cheap prices and cosy surroundings, she changes her attitude towards Billy as the story unfolds. He then realises that this landlady doesn't appear to be all that she seems to be. He begins to become concerned during his stay but never manages to uncover the landlady's secret before she murders the young lad.

To create suspense Roald Dahl has set the time at 9pm when darkness takes over light. As dark represents evil the mood changes to an atmosphere of suspense, particularly if you're unfamiliar with the area. This is exactly what happened to Billy and Roald Dahl therefore shows this as part of a beginning of suspense.

The weather is an important part of the setting in which Roald Dahl creates a sinister mood. 'The moon was coming up out of a clear starry sky'. This quote is associated with strange things happening creating evil as the atmosphere changes. When this changes a peculiar feel to the darkness begins to happen as the moon appears in a clear sky. It shows the start of a supernatural suspense, which the reader is determined to continue with this suspense story.

Roald Dahl develops a dramatic setting of the weather furthermore. To add more fear to the air the writer uses a simile in order to relate to a sinister subject. 'The wind was like a flat blade of ice on his cheeks'. This shows that the wind was sharp and 'deadly cold'. 'Flat blade' is associated with knives which is related to evil because it causes people to bleed when cut. Roald Dahl has shown 'flat blade' and 'deadly cold' to represent suspense in a 'deadly' way. This also sends a shiver to the reader making them focus glaringly.

"He didn't know anyone who lived there"

This quotation shows that Billy is a lonely person in the strange city called Bath. So when assisting for help he would have nobody to turn to, not even his family. This shows that Billy's mood isn't so pleasant whilst being careful in an isolated area.

Billy was told by a friend in London saying that Bath 'was a splendid city'. Roald Dahl has used past tense in this short quote to show that Bath was once a lovely city. This creates the reader feel wary about Bath and considers about the danger that may have happened to make Bath change. Except Billy did not know about the dangers in Bath and makes the reader to continue in order to find out Billy's risks.

Billy is seventeen, his calm and relaxed as he 'walks briskly' through the streets of Bath taking no notice of the absence of his isolation. Billy is a new and inexperienced person at his job as a businessman. As Billy 'walks briskly' he notices that the houses were all identical and have been neglected, he could see that the 'paint was peeling from the woodwork'. This relates back to as why Bath was a splendid city. The reader has been given another clue indicating a build up of suspense, because they now know that Bath is recognised as an abandoned city.

The pub 'Bell and Dragon' was recommended by a porter because it was close by, but Billy never went. Instead he glances at the boarding house with his 'eye caught and held in the most peculiar manner by a small notice'.

'BED AND BREAKFAST, BED AND BREAKFAST, BED AND BREAKFAST'

Roald Dahl has used an alliteration to represent a sign of supernatural and the font of this quote indicates that the sign was almost shouting back at Billy, a supernatural force pulling him towards the boarding house. Inside the house Billy glimpses at the cosy surrounding whilst appearing through a window. This includes a 'bright fire burning', a 'pretty little dachshund' that was asleep beside the fire, and a...
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