Short Story Comparative Analysis of the Landlady and Crime and Punishment

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The Landlady and Crime & Punishment are titled specifically so the authors can introduce and link the themes of the text. Dahl deliberately used the vague title ‘The Landlady’ to evoke the reader’s interest. Before the story begins we are already curious to know who this female character may be and what she is capable of. The title ‘The landlady’ serves a strong relationship with the plot of the story. Ulman used the title ‘Crime & Punishment’, which makes the reader assume that the genre of the story is crime, but this is not so. There is ‘crime and punishment’ in the narrative, but it is metaphorical.

Both the landlady and crime & punishment fall under most conventions of the thriller and mystery genres. These genres are established predominantly by the author deliberately withholding important information in the plot. This ensures the readers stay on edge until the climax of the story. The use of short sentences in each narrative is also effective in establishing both genres as it helps build tension. Both stories also introduce the theme of horror through various conventions. Crime and Punishment begins in deliberately descriptive visual imagery, which intentionally uses themes that can be directly related with the horror genre. In The landlady, Dahl intentionally juxtaposes the sweet nature of a dear old lady with the horrific things she is capable of. This convention of the horror genre helps to intensify the fear felt by the reader as to what will happen next. Even though both narratives are similar in genre, crime and punishment differs because it also has the conventions of romance. This is shown after Janet jumps of the building and her husband surprisingly confesses that she was the ‘most important thing in his life’. The romance genre is mainly established through character dialogue.

Both narratives are written in third person perspective. This perspective is an advantage to the reader as it allows us to see all and gain insight into...
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