The short stories, ‘the landlady by Dahl and ‘the open window’ contain similar aspects in terms of literary devices. This paper aims to bring into focus some of the literary devices found in both of the two stories through use of illustrations from the two texts. In the ‘landlady’ and ‘the open window’ the elements of surprise ending, foreshadowing, conflict, and setting have been fundamentally used to bring into focus contextual messages contained in both pieces.
Instances of foreshadowing are evident in ‘the landlady’, especially when we see the landlady welcoming the young boy and suggest he stays over. This can be illustrated as follows: “I knew you would. Do come in.” (Dahl). An element of foreshadowing can also be seen in ‘the open window’ when Frantom connects the window with the tragedy as follows: “...but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?” (Saki).
The development of conflict can be seen in ‘the open window’ when Framtom expresses his disappointment over the indulgence into the issues regarding the open window. This is seen in: “He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk to a less ghastly topic” (Saki). On the other hand in ‘the landlady conflicts develops when Billy notices that there has not been any other visitor spending at the landlady’s place and his curiosity is satisfied when she answers, “No my dear...only you” (Dahl)
The element of surprise ending has been strategically used in both stories. For instance, in ‘the landlady’, the story ends suddenly after the landlady confides to Billy regarding other visitors ever coming to her place and this leads to the creation of suspense. This can also be seen in ‘the open window’ where the story ends prematurely also leading to the creation of a potential suspense.
Emphasis has been put on setting, as seen in the opening scene of ‘the landlady’, the scene is set to an outside environment according to the description, “But the air was deadly cold and the wind was like a flat blade of ice on his cheeks” (Dahl). On the other hand, in ‘the open window’, the scenery of the window has been given only a non vivid description as follows, “you may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon” (Saki).
The two stories have therefore been fundamentally used to develop the respective plots of the stories. Both lead to a point when the reader is supposed to fill up on the remaining details through creation of suspense. The use of the stylistic devices hence enables the understanding of the story in its deeper context.