The Landlady

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Hiding under a blanket, locking the bedroom door, and being unable to sleep are common responses to horror, whether it be a movie or book. The aforementioned horror could be anything from heartless serial killers to overwhelming amounts of gore, or from creepy, bewildering monsters to an apocalypse. However, in “The Landlady”, a short story by Roald Dahl, the author uses horror subtly to frighten the readers instead. The story starts with a new businessman by the name of Billy Weaver arriving at Bath, England for the first time and needing a place to stay the night. He starts for a pub when a bed and breakfast bizarrely catches his eye, and he decides to stay there for that night. As the day progresses, the old landlady – the owner of the…show more content…
When Billy exits the train station, “the moon was coming up out of a clear starry sky... But the air was deadly cold and the wind was like a flat blade of ice on his cheeks” (62). The night was extremely beautiful, but its appearance could not hide the fact that it was freezing. This represents the theme in the ways that the night was stunning at first, but it actually was chilly and unwelcoming. Also, the previously mentioned simile enhances the reader's mental image with its descriptive words and amplifies the eerie atmosphere. The selective words of “blade of ice” also suggests a knife or murder. Likewise, when Billy rang the doorbell, the landlady “was like a jack-in-the-box... and out she popped! It made him jump” (64). She acts very pleasant and kind, but her promptness to answer the door implies that she may act benevolent but has a more sinister intent in mind. The mention of a “jack-in-the-box” may also instill fear in many people who have a phobia, or even just a dislike, of them. The fact that Billy jumped in response to the landlady’s entrance also alerts the reader to an iniquity. Throughout “The Landlady”, similes augment the theme which shows that outward displays are not always what is

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