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Compare the ways "the open window" and "the landlady" deal with deception, and explain how suspense is created by the two authors.

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Introduction

Question : Compare the ways the two short stories deal with deception, and explain how suspense is created by the two authors. The two stories that are being compared are "the landlady" by Roald Dahl and "the open window" by Saki. Both stories are earlier than the middle twentieth century. The two short stories have many similarity and difference in dealing with suspense and deception. The narrative perspective of both stories are both omniscient and in 3rd person narrative. Despite being omniscient, both narrators gives limited knowledge to the reader. They reveals the story bit by bit creating suspense. For example, in the landlady, the narrator hinted throughout the story what is going to happen to Billy, the "bitter almond smell and taste" in his cup of tea and stressed placed on how the "stuffed" animals that have ironically invited him into to the house. Whereas, in the story, "the open window", the narrator tips off the reader by hinting things like, how Mr. Framton is, his problems, ect. The narrator is an intrusive one, he gives his own opinions to the reader like "self-possessed young lady". This creates foreshadowing and suspense in the story. Also the narrator may deceive us with his dropping of hints and clues. The settings of both stories are very important to the way how suspense and deception are created. ...read more.

Middle

In the development, both stories built up the suspense very quickly. In the "landlady", the author chooses to use italics to emphasis words that are mostly hints to be recognized by reader. For example, when Billy pressed the bell, then "at once" the door opened. Roald Dhal want the readers to realize that was something abnormal. He builds up the tension bit by bit, dropping clues throughout the whole plot. For example, the clues like, the small white hands which hints of the chemical used by the old lady to stuff the pets, and her tattletale sign of her red fingernail which seems to be painted with the blood of those whom she had murdered. Also, there she told him of how one of her guest didn't have a single "blemish" on his body. How could she have found out unless by malevolent means. There was irony as to what Billy thinks about the landlady, he described her as "slightly dotty". He got one part right and that was crazy but the other part landed him in trouble. The landlady is very much crazy not just slightly as the reader discovers what was the real intention behind those endearments. We the readers are slightly less na�ve than Billy by the author still gets the last laugh. He refused to give us a satisfying resolution. ...read more.

Conclusion

This creates suspense and tension in the story when we realize how the landlady deceives Billy. In "the open window", Framton was deceived by Vera. Vera's names was very ironic as "Vera" means the truth, yet, she said everything but the truth. She seemed by a well-educated lady coming down to entertain Framton, however, she deceived him as well as the reader by her narration. Like in "the landlady", the protagonist is told whereas the antagonist is shown. Framton is shown to be a nervous person and was sent down by her sister for a nerve treatment. Vera has deceived the reader as well as Framton. We followed her story throughout and only in the end we realized the truth. The last line, "romance at short notice was her specialty". Romance in this context means fiction and lies as we might already have derived from the way she lied to both Framton and her aunt, having the last laugh twice. According to me, I prefer "the landlady" because the suspense and tension is never resolved. The story doesn't have a satisfying ending. Roald Dahl had left us hanging in suspense. I remember thinking about it long after I have finished reading. However, in "the open window" the story is fully resolved and we no longer wonder what is happening next. P.S. I know is has slightly too many words, but does it matter that much ? If it does, can I redo it ? if necessary. Thank you :) Wang yiren 3eme 1 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This piece has some very promising ideas and the first page in particular is very good; however it becomes a weaker essay after the first page as the points become a bit confusing and superficial. There is some good word level analysis and some consideration of the links between the short stories; as it is a comparative essay these links should be stronger and more frequent.
The key terms in the title should also be revisited as they should drive the whole analysis throughout.

3 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 08/05/2013

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