46 pages 1 hour read

Roald Dahl

The Landlady

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1959

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“The Landlady”

  • Genre: Fiction; young adult short story; thriller/horror
  • Originally Published: 1959
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 780L; grades 9-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 13 pages; approx. 20 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The story follows Billy Weaver, a young businessman who rents a room from a seemingly kind and hospitable landlady in Bath, England. As the evening progresses, Billy starts to realize that the landlady’s welcoming exterior may hide a dark and unsettling secret.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Suspenseful and potentially frightening atmosphere; suggested violence; dark humor

Roald Dahl, Author

  • Bio: Born 1916; died 1990; British novelist, short story writer, poet, and screenwriter; served as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II; renowned for his children’s books as well as adult works, often characterized by dark humor and unexpected endings; his stories continue to entertain and inspire readers of all ages
  • Other Works: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964); James and the Giant Peach (1961); Matilda (1988); The Witches (1983)
  • Awards: Edgar Award for Best Short Story (1960)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Anonymity of Modern Life
  • The Fetishizing of Youth
  • The Power of Convention and Social Customs

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will: