The landlady

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  • Publicado : 2 de junio de 2011
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The Landlady
The story focuses on a young man named Billy Weaver who has just stepped into the world of work. Arriving in Bath for a business trip, he looks for a place to stay, and is recommended to the Bell and Dragon. While headed there, he comes upon a bed and breakfast sign which somehow hypnotizes him into checking out the boardinghouse. He presses the doorbell, and before he can lift hisfinger from the bell-button, the door opens and a middle-aged landlady appears. She treats him generously, giving him a floor of his own to stay on, and charging him much less than he expected. However, she also emits a sense of spookiness, which, though apparently Billy does not notice, appears quite evident to the reader.In the inn's guest book, he sees that only two other guests have stayed there—one older, the other younger, and both having arrived earlier than 2 years prior. Billy finds the names vaguely familiar from the newspaper, and on further reflection recalls that they "were both famous for the same thing." (going missing) The landlady makes a comment about one of the two boys inpast tense, to which Billy comments that they must have only left recently. The landlady replies that both of the guests are still residing at the inn. Billy then notices that the dog by the fireplace and the parrot he had noticed earlier were stuffed as he looks closer and touches the dog to examine it. She then tells him, "I stuff all my pets myself," and offers him more tea. Billy refuses becausethe tea "tasted faintly of bitter almonds" (a characteristic of cyanide). The story ends with Billy asking if there have been any other guests or visitors in the past few years, to which the landlady replies, "No my dear, Only you."


"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is the book's often quoted opening line, and from here its unnamed narrator recollects her past, tellingthe story of her transition into womanhood. While working as the companion to a rich American woman vacationing on the French Riviera, she becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him, and after the marriage accompanies him to his mansion, the beautiful West Countryestate Manderley. Only upon their arrival at Manderley does the new bride realize how difficult it will be to lay to rest the memory of her husband's first wife, Rebecca. Rebecca is understood to have drowned in a sailing accident off the coast next to the mansion a year before, but her memory has a strong hold on the estate and all of its inhabitants andvisitors, especially the domineering housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, one of literature's most infamous female villains. Mrs. Danvers, who was profoundly devoted to Rebecca, tries to undermine the second Mrs de Winter, suggesting to her that she will never attain the urbanity and charm that Rebecca possessed. Whenever thenew Mrs. de Winter attempts to make changes at Manderley, Mrs. Danvers describes how Rebecca ran Manderley when she was alive. Each time Mrs. Danvers does this, she implies that the new Mrs. de Winter lacks the experience and knowledge necessary for running an important estate such as Manderley. The second Mrs. de Winter is cowed by Mrs. Danvers' imposing manner and complies with thehousekeeper's suggestions. Lacking self-confidence and overwhelmed by her new life, the protagonist commits one faux pas after another, until she is convinced that Maxim regrets his impetuous decision to marry her and is still deeply in love with the seemingly perfect Rebecca. The climax occurs at Manderley's annual costume ball....