The Landlady Analysis by Roald Dahl


The story is set in Bath, England. The location is full of old and dilapidated buildings except for the inn of the old lady which is well looked after. It is warm and cosy and decorated with flowers. However, the appearance of the inn overlooks the eerie insides of the building which harbors deep and dark secrets within its walls.


The story foreshadows the dark and mysterious reality of the old lady. Billy is suspicious of the information which he receives from the old lady regarding the precious visitors. H e is also wary of the comments of old lady where she keeps complimenting his youthful looks.

It is when he remembers the news regarding the Mulholland disappearance and finds something strange with the tea that that the plot reveals the actual trickery of the landlady.


The conflict in the story arises out of the mismatch between appearance and reality. On the exterior the inn and its landlady are warm and welcoming but they are also brooding and mysterious.

There are a lot of unexplained events and missing information regarding the previous tenants and deserted rooms of the inn. The penchant of the lady for young boys and taxidermy all create a sense of contradiction to the affable image of the bed and breakfast.

The lady herself seems to be into dark and murky activities. When the entry log reveals the name of only two visitors that have visited the place, there is an undertone of spooky past that adds to the tension


The story ends with an ominous realization that by signing the entry log, Billy might have sealed his fate. The spiked tea confirms his gut instincts that were tingling since seeing the name of Mulholland in the guest log.

Every animal in the inn was stuffed with and it dawned on the reader as Billy became the newest toy to the deranged fetish of the landlady. She finally lulls her third youthful victim to the dungeon of her dark desires.

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