Roald Dahl's Use Of Foreshadowing In The Landlady

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Roald Dahl’s ‘The Landlady’, a mystery-horror short story, is purposely written to entice the readers to think about how people are not always as they seem. Dahl uses the art of foreshadowing to focus on the mysterious Landlady. The Landlady is described as about forty-five or fifty years of age with a round pink face, gentle blue eyes and pale lips. She also has small, white, quick moving hands with red fingernails. At first, the Landlady seems pleasant and accommodating, however, as the story progresses the reader discovers there is more to the Landlady; her true personality and purpose. Her actions bring suspense to the story and her devious behaviour makes her an important link to the story’s themes of mystery and horror.

When Billy meets the Landlady, she gives Billy a warm welcoming smile and says ‘Please come in.’ Billy relates her to ‘the mother of one’s best schoolfriend welcoming one into the house to stay’. This first impression becomes suspect when the author makes use of foreshadowing through the simile ‘jack-in-the-box’ to show she seems to already be prepared for Billy even though this is the first time they meet. This proves she is an
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The Landlady herself is the integral element which Dahl uses to create this effect. ‘The tea tasted faintly of bitter almonds…’ This is a subtle reference which is never fully explained; cyanide, a common poison, is known to taste of bitter almonds. ‘And suddenly, he realised that [the dachshund] had all the time been just as silent and motionless as the parrot.’ This another pointer, in which Dahl expresses horror. By linking the hints, the reader can infer about what happens next. The Landlady is significant towards the horror within the story, not only because taxidermy can be considered horrific within itself, but her personality also establishes fear with the reader in an uncanny
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