The Landlady and Lamb to the Slaughter

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In the short stories The Landlady and Lamb to the Slaughter written by Roald Dahl, an important setting is the households. They show us the importance of appearance vs. reality, as they show how things can often be different to how they seem, and that we can be easily deceived if we are too reliant on looks. This is shown through techniques such as irony, listing and adjectives.

The Landlady is a story about a young man who believes he has found a safe place to stay, when in fact it is one of the most dangerous places for him.

Appearance vs. reality is shown in The Landlady through the Bed and Breakfast or the Landlady’s home. It seems the same as all the other houses on the street, not arousing any suspicion in Billy about that particular one. In fact, Dahl hints that Billy may have been able to pass by the house completely if he had not caught sight of a notice in the downstairs window that was “brilliantly illuminated”. As this catches Billy’s attention, he also notices many other appealing aspects of this Bed and Breakfast, such as “yellow chrysanthemums... green velvet curtains... a bright fire... a pretty little dachshund”. These adjectives lull Billy in to a sense of security and peace, making him feel that this will be a safe place to stay. The technique of listing all these features makes it easy for us to imagine what Billy sees, and understand how he could have been deluded in to thinking it would be a pleasant place, when it is actually a formidable place for him. He only realises this too late, though we can later realise clues Dahl has left: “There were no other hats or coats in the hall. There were no umbrellas, no walking sticks—nothing” which would be odd at a social establishment like a Bed and Breakfast. These subtle connotations make us realise how we can miss out details, realise them later but only once it’s too late to do anything. It shows how if we are perceptive seeing the reality and appearance we can avoid getting into situations...