The Body Snatchers by R.L Stevenson and The Landlady by Roald Dahl

Satisfactory Essays
Comparison between The Body Snatchers written by R.L Stevenson in

1884 and The Landlady written by Roald Dahl in 1960

In this assignment I am going to compare and contrast the way that

Stevenson and Dahl create and maintain dramatic tension.

Both of these texts contain many similarities as they both involve

death and deceit, which is conveyed in the characters. In The Body

Snatchers there are several people involved in the deceit, which

encapsulates the relationship between the characters. The landlady is

the only person involved in the murders, deceit and stuffing of the

victims in The Landlady. This conveys loneliness and she seems to be

withdrawn from society. Both of these stories have a 'back-story', as

they both seem to be an extract or joining the story after the first

few pages.

In The Body Snatchers we meet the main characters in The George, a

public house in Debenham, Scotland. It is quite an ordinary night in

The George but then an extraordinary thing happens, suddenly out of

the blue a "Great Neighbouring Proprietor" was struck down with

'apoplexy', which required the aid of a doctor from London "Dr

Macfarlane". A gentleman by the name of Fettes knew the doctor as they

had somewhat of a past together. They conversed briefly and abruptly

then Fettes asked Dr Macfarlane if he had seen it again, "it" being

Gray an old acquaintance of Fettes & the Dr but you don't find out

what "it" is until the end of the story. After this Dr Macfarline

rushes off into his fly and then to the station. This sets up three

mysteries or questions the reader wants answered and is the way

Stevenson hooks you into the story. You want to know what conflict

there had been between them in the past, why one became famous &

successful where the other became an old drunk, unsuccessful & poor.

And finally what does 'it' refer to?

The Body Snatchers then uses a flashback technique to take us back to

when Dr Macfarlane and Fettes were studying at medical school, which

is where the murder, deceit and treachery takes place. The medical

schools in this time bought bodies, which were often exhumed and

stolen from graves or murdered for use as medical research or

training, Fettes is in charge of the payment and management of these

bodies yet turns a blind eye either due to fear or to further his


In The Landlady one of the main characters is Billy Weaver. In the

text it says, " He had never been to Bath before…Billy was only

seventeen". This positions the audience as it tells us he is
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