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“The Landlady” Questions About Blindly Trusting People

Roald Dahl is a famous English writer who has written multiple short stories that question the truth of society. In “The Landlady,” a young man named Billy Weaver finds an old bed and breakfast to stay in. Little did he know that after meeting the loving landlady who took great care of him, we would be staying in the house forever.

The story introduces us to the harsh weathering in Bath. It was late at night and Billy needed a place to stay. Billy is completely new to the city of Bath. He met a porter who recommended him to go to “The Bell and Dragon” pub. Along the way, he noticed an old, shabby house with a warm, inviting light. Billy invites himself in the home to see nice decorations such as the flowers and the animals decorated in the home. The dachshund was curled up by the fire. His judgment is that if there are animals in the home, it is a sign that the place is good to stay in. He is immediately introduced to the Landlady.

In the guestbook, Billy notices the names Christopher Mulholland and Gregory W. Temple. The names seem familiar to him. The Landlady comes out as creepy as the story progresses because she presses on how Billy has the perfect teeth, the perfect age, and no blemishes on his body. The writer, Dahl, creatively utilizes the guestbook as a sign of Billy signing his life away because Billy would soon meet his death as he progresses further into the house.

There were multiple images of death portrayed in the story, especially the haunting fact that the Landlady stuffs her pet animals to keep them looking “alive” permanently. There are no coat hangers or hat hooks. The Landlady leaves no evidence of people staying overnight.

The Landlady’s home is full of trickery on the eyes. While it looks presentable to the human eye, a lot of dreadful secrets lie underneath. The fact that many young boys have disappeared when arriving at her home paints a deadly picture at her doorstep. By the time the boys realize that they will die, it would be too late. The Landlady can go at lengths to preserve the beauty of men that she kept in her home, yet it also questions human society on the capability of murder and deceit that can happen to the best of us. Simply following your gut won’t do when finding a place to stay.

A simple note of “don’t judge a book by its cover” does not define the justice that creeps the mind of readers when entering the home of the Landlady. As bitter as the almond taste in the tea, it is sometimes too late once the name is signed in the guestbook.


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