This is a sample assignment about the short story "The Landlady", and was created by a 9th grader



Author’s Craft: The Landlady Passage and Questions

Read, highlight, and annotate the following passage. Then answer the questions below. While annotating, it is preferred you use the following key: Characterization (yellow), Theme (blue), Tone (purple), and Mood (green).

            He pressed the bell. Far away in a back room he heard it ringing, and then at once-it must have been at once because he hadn’t even had time to take his finger from the bell-button-the door swung open and a woman was standing there.

            Normally you ring the bell and you have at least a half-minute’s wait before the door opens. But this dame was like a jack-in-the-box. He pressed the bell-and out she popped! It made him jump.

            She was about forty-five or fifty years old, and the moment she saw him, she gave him a warm welcoming smile.

            “Please come in,” she said pleasantly. She stepped aside, holding the door wide open, and Billy found himself automatically starting forward into the house. The compulsion or, more accurately, the desire to follower after her into that house was extraordinarily strong.

            “I saw the notice in the window,” he said, holding himself back.

            “Yes, I know.”

            “I was wondering about a room.”

            “It’s all ready for you, my dear,” she said. She had a round pink face and very gently blue eyes.

            “I was on my way to The Bell and Dragon,” Billy told her. “But the notice in your window just happened to catch my eye.”

            “My dear boy,” she said, “why don’t you come in out of the cold?”

            “How much do you charge?”

            “Five and sixpence a night, including breakfast.”

            It was fantastically cheap. It was less than half of what he had been willing to pay.

            “If that’s too much,” she added, “then perhaps I can reduce it just a tiny bit. Do you desire an egg for breakfast? Eggs are expensive at the moment. It would be sixpence less without the egg.”

            “Five and sixpence is fine,” he answered. “I should like very much to stay here.”

            “I knew you would. Do come in.”

            She was terribly nice. She looked exactly like the mother of one’s best school-friend welcoming one into the house to stay for the Christmas holidays. Billy took off his hat, and stepped over the threshold.


1.     How does the author bring the characters to life? Be specific.


2.     How does the author use foreshadowing in this passage? Give a general idea of what the author may be foreshadowing.


3.     Provide one use of figurative language in this passage.


4.     What is the overall tone of the passage? Think about what the author would want the reader to learn or think about the passage.


Billy Weaver had travelled down from London on the slow afternoon train, with a change at Swindon on the way, and by the time he got to Bath it was about nine o’clock in the evening and the moon was coming up out of a clear starry sky over the houses opposite the station entrance. But the air was deadly cold and the wind was like a flat blade of ice on his cheeks.

            “Excuse me,” he said, “but is there a fairly cheap hotel not too far away form here?”

            “Try The Bell and Dragon,” the porter answered, pointing down the road. “They might take you in. it’s about a quarter of a mile along on the other side.”


5.     What is the mood of this passage?


6.     After reading both passages, what theme(s) are recognizable?