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Compare and Contrast the intended Crimes, Victims and Villains in the short stories "A Terribly Strange Bed" By Wilkie Colins (1856) and "The Landlady" By Roald Dahl (1960)

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Compare and Contrast the intended Crimes, Victims and Villains in the short stories "A Terribly Strange Bed" By Wilkie Colins (1856) and "The Landlady" By Roald Dahl (1960) A 'Short Story' is a Narrative Prose that is shorter than a novel and usually not more than 15,000 words in length. The 'Short Story' is one of the oldest and most natural forms of Prose fiction. Edgar Allan Poe first formally defined the short story in 1842. A short story has different characteristics such as, it can be read or told on a single occasion, has only one main event and only a few main characters. The most well known type of short story is the fairytale. In the essay I will compare two short stories in a number of ways. I will compare the victims in each story, the crime committed in each story, the villains committing the crime and concluding my overall opinions. I will be looking at 'A Terribly Strange Bed' written by Wilkie Collins in 1856 and told in a first-person view with classic language of the period. It is about a respectable young man staying in Paris after finishing his education and who ventures to a rough gambling house where he 'breaks the bank' in a game of Rouge et Noir. He gets led astray and then nearly killed by a lethal bed in a cunning plan by 'the old soldier' who is the master of the gambling house. ...read more.


The Victim is then very gullible in his rush of winning and is convinced by the old soldier to make many rational decisions and takes his offers, suggestions and comments as friendly gestures. He prefers to take advice and suggestions from the old soldier rather than his friend (unaware on their true intentions) because they are friendly and supportive "If I had been in my senses I should have considered him personally as being rather a suspicious specimen of an old soldier" and he realises later that he should have not trusted him. The Victim in "The Landlady" is in no way looking in trouble. He sees the B&B on the way to The Bell and Dragon and decides that he will stay in the B&B instead as an experience. He mentions himself being frightened of these sorts of lodgings and has a rather stereotypical view of them "he had never stayed in any Boarding houses, and, to be perfectly honest, he was a tiny bit frightened of them. The name itself conjured up images of watery cabbage, rapacious landladies and a strong smell of Kippers in the living room". The villain committing the crime in "A Terribly Strange Bed" is a tall man described as an "Old soldier", wearing a shabby soldiers overcoat, has "goggling blood shot eyes", A "Mangy mustachios", his nose is broken, his hands are dirty and "His voice betrayed a barrack-room intonation of the worst order". From his appearance described I would consider him to be a dodgy character, this is because it makes me wonder why there is an old soldier in a gambling house and in such a bad condition. ...read more.


The old soldier is punished for his attempted crime for being 'sent to the galleys'. In 'The Landlady', although the author only suggests what the landlady is going to do. We piece together the clues for ourselves, and the writer never spells out exactly what happens and the story finishes before we can witness the result of any crime being committed. In my opinion I think that the intended murder in 'A Terribly Strange Bed' was the worst crime because it was evil, very well planned and had the man very convinced. If it hadn't been for his coffee being drugged too strongly, and his quick and conscious thinking, he would have been dead for sure. The victim in 'A Terribly Strange Bed' appealed to me the most because of his reckless behaviour and exciting character. I think that the villains in both stories and both very good in different ways but the old soldier character has to be the best because of his intelligent and cunning plan, convincing advice and his appearance is of a classic 'bad' guy. The landlady was also a good villain because of her strange comments and weird behaviour. Out of the two stories I prefer 'A Terribly Strange Bed' because I like the 'mystery' approach to the story line and the complicated and well devised plans. I also like the wording and the old-style language that the story is written in. The exciting, quick and young reckless attitude that the story implies appeals to me more than the more subtle, calm, mysterious, and strange attitude that is brought forward in 'The Landlady'. ...read more.

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