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The Landlady By Roald Daul

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Introduction

YEAR 10 PRE-LITERATURE ENGLISH -TASK THREE: HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT- By Natalie Hind Women in literature are frequently represented as the damsel in distress. This statement can be confirmed through the analysis of the short story, The Landlady By Roald Dahl. Through an interpretation of the text, the reader is able to identify the characteristics that support the Landlady's role of the distressed damsel. This can also be conveyed through the use of narrative conventions, especially characterisation, style, point of view and setting. The use of characterisation heavily influences how we relate to the character of the Landlady. When beginning to read The Landlady, audiences will at first assume that she is frail and incompetent, and this is due to her age and appearance. The way she speaks also suggests that senility has a strong influence over the old lady's behaviour. ...read more.

Middle

There is also an implied notion that the Landlady is slightly, if not completely, senile. This aids in conveying the feeling that the woman suffered some deep emotional or mental loss that drives her to kill. This in turn supports her 'damsel in distress' persona, as once again, the reader finds a way to rationalize the Landlady's actions and therefore empathize with her supposed loss of mental and emotional structure. Roald Dahl manipulates setting in order to aid the reader's assumptions about the Landlady's motives for the supposed killings. The Bed and Breakfast being described with, '...pussy-windows' and 'A fire...and a pretty dachshund curled up asleep...' gives the image of something small and cozy. As a result, it is implied that she doesn't often receive visitors, reinforcing the Landlady's 'lonely' image. The time in which the text is assumed to take place is obviously a time before mobile phones and other ways of communication through modern technology. ...read more.

Conclusion

They want some reasoning for what is going on and so, through the use of point of view, the reader once again comes to the conclusion that the Landlady has some kind of mental illness due to some devastating loss in her life. This then leads back to the reader confining the Landlady to be the damsel in distress because of these assumptions about her history. Often in literature, women are represented as the damsel in need of someone to rescue her from some evil being or, sometimes, herself. This is evident in The Landlady, as the narrative techniques used by the author reinforce that the old lady's mental state is used by readers to find closure, and the reasoning behind the Landlady's behaviour. This leads to the reader assuming that she has had some sort of mental breakdown because of an event in her life that crippled her emotionally, and therefore the Landlady gains the pity of the reader forcing her into the role of damsel in distress. ...read more.

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