The Whole Town’s Sleeping which is written by Ray Bradbury and The Landlady written by Roald Dahl have many similarities when compared. The Whole Town’s Sleeping is set in Illinois, inside a small isolated town. We are introduced to Francine and Lavinia who find a dead body floating inside the ravine, suspected to be another victim of the ‘Lonely One’ – an unknown serial killer who murders women. Meanwhile The Landlady is set in the town of Barth where we meet Billy Weaver. He has just arrived into the town at late night and is “caught” by a Bed and Breakfast sign on a window.
He decides to enter and we later find out that the owner who is an old women has an iniquitous intent. In The Whole Town’s Sleeping we meet the main protagonist who is Lavinia at her home where she is at the comfort of safety. She is an old resident of the area compared to Billy who is new. Lavinia Nebbs is fully aware of the danger because while she was walking along the Ravine she noticed “coming down towards her was a man” and “he carried a long club in his hand. ” This indicates the fact that Lavinia is extremely weary and knowing of the risk.
This technique that Ray Bradbury used was Anti Climaxing – creating tension to a high point but it was a false alarm. However she is portrayed as a naive character and willingly chooses to be completely ignorant and resist the harsh reality, trying to focus on something else – something a child is likely to do as she says “We’ve got to forget this” when insisting to continue on and go to the theatre. It is this naivety of Lavinia that places her is such adversity towards the end.
In act one when the stage manager pulls Mr. Webb out of the play to talk with him on page 528, the lady in the box asks 'Oh Mr. Webb? Mr. Webb is there any culture or love of beauty in Grover's Corners?'. Mr. Webb her, there isn't much culture the way she might think, but '...we've got a lot of pleasures of a kind here: We like the sun comin' up over the mountain in the morning, and we all notice ...
Furthermore when it was the end of the movie we see Lavinia as a reckless and fearless character who is now brave and willing to face what everyone is scared of because she is reluctant to believe that she may be The Lonely one’s next victim. Also she is covering up her weaknesses, acting independent and like a man. This is shown when she says “If I’m the next victim, let me be the next victim. ” Another example of her naivety is also shown at the drug store where Francine says to Lavinia “That man asking for you. You’re next! ” Nevertheless Lavinia dismisses the issue by saying “It was just a man.
” Expanding on this quote said by Lavinia it gives the perception that she is a feminist and the way she says it indicates she is trying to say ‘I’m not weak. ’ Another thing I have noticed in The Whole Town’s Sleeping is that the women are presented as weak and fragile – unable to protect themselves. Slowly Lavinia’s inner fear overwhelms her until she is extremely scared and we – the reader see the rest of the story unfold from Lavinia. “She heard a man’s voice singing far away among the tress” shows the paranoia within Lavinia’s mind as she has now been hit with the reality and is exposed.
Just like the dress that she is wearing which is unprotected and shows the vulnerability as Ray Bradbury writes “The heat pulsed under your dress and along your legs with a stealthy sense of invasion” – she is open to the ‘elements’. Lavinia now becomes very cautious and suddenly become a lot more mature once she walks on the ravine, which gives a sense to the reader that she grows up along with the story – as it develops. Ray Bradbury in the beginning on the story describes Lavinia “as cool as mint cool ice cream” suggesting that it is possible for her to ‘melt’ and for the fresh smell of mint to fade and die out – this is where it occurs.
On the other hand in Roald Dahl’s The Landlady the main protagonist who is Billy Weaver has just arrived into the town of Bath and has been recommended to stay in The Bell and Dragon however he was compelled to a peculiar Bed and Breakfast sign outside a home and as he rang the doorbell, unusually the door opened immediately. The owner was an old women who acted extremely strange and to some circumstances creepy, however this was completely oblivious to Billy. Billy Weaver is portrayed by Roald Dahl as having almost no common sense and someone who goes along with anything, without raising a finger.
The Free Women of Petersburg, Status and Culture in a Southern Town, 1784-1861, was written by Suzanne Lebsock in 1984 and won the Bancroft Prize in 1985. Lebsock focuses on Petersburg, Virginia between 1784 and 1860 to recount the status of women in society, and how that status changed. She also examines the views of women during that time. The author did extensive research of Petersburg local ...
He doesn’t act like his age but more mature and professional. We see this when Roald Dahl in the omnipotent point of view describes Billy “Walked briskly down the street. He was trying to do everything briskly these days. Briskness, he had decided, was the one common characteristic of all successful businessmen. ” Showing that he was being/doing things whom he isn’t. In addition Roald also states the fact that “He was wearing a new navy blue overcoat” which could symbolise that he has hidden all of his youth underneath his coat and is wearing a mature and professional personality/characteristic.
Like in The Whole Town’s Sleeping Lavinia’s naivety caused her to become the victim – Billy’s obliviousness on what The Landlady is doing causes him to become her next victim. When Billy goes down to sign the guestbook he recognises the names however doesn’t remember where from and The Landlady keeps on diverting the conversation. Further on when Billy says to The Landlady “I suppose he left fairly recently” when talking about Mr Mulholland, The Landlady replies “Left? But my dear boy, he never left. He’s still here. Mr Temple is also here.
” From that Billy should have been weary and begin to think again about staying however he did not raise any question but instead acted like a puppet, on strings controlled by The Landlady. Some harrowing things that The Landlady said were when talking about Mr Temple such as “There wasn’t a single blemish on his body” and “His skin was just like a baby’s” should have raised alarm bells and made him more reluctant to stay with her. But he just continues to drink his tea which strangely tastes like bitter almonds hinting that she had put cyanide within his tea, however Billy underestimates her due to her being an old women.
This fact links in with The Whole Town’s Sleeping because Billy does not suspect anything about The Landlady simply because she is an old women – tying with the ‘women are weak’ portrayal in The Whole Town’s Sleeping. In conclusion Ray Bradbury’s The Whole Town’s Sleeping had Lavinia thinking she was as if ‘immune’ to the threat and danger of The Lonely One where Women are characterised as unable to take care of themselves and it can be said that due to her trying to be independent (as a man) caused her to be The Lonely One’s next target.
Recently, many women are engaged in various kinds of job, and they have been advancing in society. Moreover, it is quite ubiquitous among typical families that a mother works outside the home. In the article Should a Woman Work Outside the Home?, the author Mohammed Akade Osman Sudan argues that a womans rightful place in society is in the home. I disagree with the authors view that women should ...
While in Roald Dahl’s The Landlady Billy Weaver is portrayed as the young and innocent throughout the story and despite his maturity you could see through his decision making that they were still not mature. Also it is due to him being so oblivious he was an easy target despite the threat being right in front of him. Overall it was both Lavinia’s and Billy’s will and desire to become independent that caused them to become victims.