English Analysis Essay

Submitted By sabs08
Words: 1485
Pages: 6

In the stories, “The Landlady” and “Man from the South,” suspense is present to show a sense of fear and anticipation; encouraging further reading. Dahl creates suspense and leaves clues in the form of the setting and atmosphere, literary devices, and pacing of the story.
Firstly, the setting and atmosphere are arranged in an eerie way that enhances the nature of the story. “The Landlady” begins with a seventeen-year-old boy, Billy Weaver, who is desperate for a place to stay for the night. Just as the young teenager is walking along the streets searching for a cheap, local hotel he crosses something rather peculiar. On a window he sees a small but compelling notice that reads ‘bed and breakfast’ all over it; it was a bizarre repetition. “Each word was like a large black eye staring at him through the glass, holding him, compelling him, forcing him to stay where he was and not to walk away from that house” (page 28). The notice was exceptionally hypnotic, and it reeled Billy in instantly. The next thing Billy knew was in the bed and breakfast of an incredibly kind old woman. However, more clues begin to unfold in the unnerving house of Billy’s temporary landlady. He notices that there wasn’t a single hat or coat in the hall. “There were no umbrellas, no walking-sticks — nothing” (page 29); hinting that there perhaps no one else stayed here before. This creates an uncertainty that unfortunately the reader only has insight to, making us question this odd bed and breakfast. When Billy goes to sign into the guest-book, and observes something relatively odd. There happened to be only two names recorded; one recorded two years ago, and the other more than three. He couldn’t put his finger on what was familiar about these names, and that they had to be linked in some sort of way. The fact that Billy can’t quite figure out the clues Dahl has inputted creates anticipation and mystery to what he will do next, and whether he will decipher the landlady’s odd motives. Next, in “Man from the South,” the setting and atmosphere are also important in the unfolding of suspense and clues by the author. The story starts off with the characters relaxing poolside in a “fine garden with lawns and beds of azaleas and tall coconut palms” (page 2). The sun was shining and the umbrellas were bright. There were people “splashing about and making a lot of noise and throwing a large rubber ball at one another” (page 2). The mood was entertaining and carefree. Suddenly, the feeling in the air is tense once the ‘little man’ in the story makes a bet on if the boy can light his lighter ten times consecutively without missing, and riskily wagers his expensive car. When the little man offers to chop off the boy’s fingers if he misses, it creates an anxious but exciting atmosphere; leaving the characters on edge with the anticipation of the bet. Additionally, further apprehension is exposed once the characters are in the little man’s hotel room preparing for the bet. “Anyone would think the son of a gun had done this before” (page 9). He was precise in every action, “he knows exactly what he needs and how to arrange it.” The little man had everything ready to go; the kitchen chopper, nails, table, and hammer. This adds question to why the little man is so consistent with his moves, never hesitating, moving forward with what seems to be a well thought out plan. Dahl generates tension and leaves suspicions for the readers through the scenery and ambiance of the stories.
Additionally, the author uses literary devices to demonstrate a sense of expectation and clues. In “The Landlady” foreshadowing is present in a few points in the story. Firstly the landlady says “we don’t want to go breaking any laws at this stage in the proceedings, do we?” (page 30). This suggests that later on in the story she will break the law. Irony is also present in the story, with the landlady making a series of ironic remarks. When she says, “…such a very great pleasure when now and…