(c) How has the reading of The Landlady by Roald Dahl taught you that one must be cautious and not too trusting? Discuss with close reference to the text.
An evident theme in “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl is that appearances are deceptive. Billy, due to his naïveté, is taken in by the landlady, thus portraying insufficient caution
In one instance, when he rings the bell of the landlady’s house, he is immediately informed that the rent required is “fantastically cheap.” This compels him to stay there. Yet the house is surrounded in comfort and luxury with “a pretty little dachshund” and a “plump sofa.” Such material convenience is synonymous with exorbitant charges but he is not suspicious of the fiendish schemes brewing in her mind. It is ironical that he found the rent reasonable, for his naïveté has, ultimately, to pay an even higher price – his life.
Furthermore, upon viewing her house, he notices a “a pretty little dachshund” and a “large parrot”, enticing him to stay there. “Animals were usually a good sign.” However, little does he know that they have met their demise until later.
The landlady’s external veneer is attractive; she seems warm and kind with “gentle blue eyes.” So courteous is she that she has thoughtfully prepared Bill’s room. She is depicted as being affectionate such as calling him an endearment, “dear.” This draws him to her. Such wonderful treatment is highly suggestive of concealed evil and ulterior motives, yet Billy suspects nothing. She wishes to preserve his corpse, but he believes her to be a good woman. This may result in his luckless demise.
Moreover, the landlady generously prepared tea for him, which he accepts. The tea tastes of “bitter almonds’ and he is still innocent to her devious schemes.
Only while they are seated together does he realize that the dachshund and the parrot are deceased. They looked so homely and indicated a “good sign” initially, nut he is undeceived upon discovering their preserved state. Further abnormal behaviour of the landlady is depicted when she says her previous tenant’s skin was just “like a baby’s.” Upon being informed that she stiffs and preserves her dad pets, Billy, instead of recoiling, “stared with deep admiration.” Her indecorous indiscretion of remarking on the young man’s skin ought to have put him on his guard, yet he is fascinated and thinks little of this. How could she have discovered that “there wasn’t a blemish” on her victim’s body – unless by malevolent means?
Therefore, one must be cautious and not too trusting. This innocent attribute in Billy despite all the subtle hints, leads to his ensnarement, and ultimately, his impending death. This story teaches me this lesson.