"The Landlady" and Other Short Stories

"The Landlady" and Other Short Stories Quotes and Analysis

"'You can have his share,' he said quietly. "We don't mind you having his share," and as he spoke he glanced back and saw again the black body of the Mamba curving upward from the ground, joining with the belly of the cow.

'Yes,' he said again, 'we don't mind your having his share."

The Old Man ("An African Story")

The final line of "An African Story" shows the old man's acceptance of Judson's death, and his approval of the symbiosis between the cow and the snake. The old man wants the snake to have Judson's share of the milk after Judson breaks the back of the old man's dog. As the snake is not harming the old man or the cow, the old man accepts the snake.

'"Mr. Temple, of course, was a little older," she said, ignoring his remark. "He was actually twenty-eight. And yet I never would have guessed it if he hadn't told me, never in my whole life. There wasn't a blemish on his body."'

The landlady ("The Landlady")

Here, the ominous nature of the landlady starts to reveal itself. The landlady appraises Mr. Temple like a fine piece of meat or an animal, raising the question of how she knows that he has no blemishes on his body.

"At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head."

Narrator ("Lamb to the Slaughter")

After Mary learns that her husband is leaving her, she goes to make dinner. She brings a leg of lamb out of the freezer, and after her husband refuses dinner, she brings it down on his head. This moment reveals Mary's cruelty, and as the plot progresses, the reader sees more and more of her insidious nature.

"But my dear fellow, you mustn't alarm yourself like this. Calm yourself down, Mr. Cornelius, calm yourself down! There's absolutely nothing in the world for you to worry about. It is not a very contagious disease. You have to have the most intimate contact with the person in order to catch it..."

Abdul Aziz ("The Visitor")

With this quote, Oswald learns that he may have slept with Abdul's leprous daughter, rather than with Abdul's beautiful wife and younger daughter. Since Oswald is a hypochondriac, and a known womanizer, this is a difficult blow to both his hubris—as he took it for granted that either the wife or the younger daughter would come to visit him in the night—and to his conceptions of sick people, as he learns that he himself may be incurably ill.

'"He is a little small, perhaps. But the small ones are often a lot tougher than the big ones. Just imagine, Frau Hitler, this time next year he will be almost learning how to walk. Isn't that a lovely thought?'"

The doctor ("Genesis and Catastrophe")

Here, the doctor contends that although Adolf Hitler is weak at birth, he will likely be a lot tougher than bigger children. The compassion that the doctor is trying to show to Klara, a woman grieving three dead children and desperately hoping the fourth does not die, contrasts starkly with the audience's knowledge that little Adolf will grow up to be a ruthless murderer and tyrant. This dramatic irony punctuates this quote and the whole of "Genesis and Catastrophe."

"She walked quickly across the hall and disappeared for a moment around the corner to the left, at the back. There was something deliberate and purposeful about this action; she had the air of a woman who is off to investigate a rumour or to confirm a suspicion. And when she returned a few seconds later, there was a little glimmer of satisfaction on her face."

Mrs. Foster ("The Way Up to Heaven")

Here, Mrs. Foster deviously looks around her home after she returns from Paris. In this moment there is some mystery, as it is unclear why Mrs. Foster is so pleased with her surroundings. Mrs. Foster analyzes her surroundings, seemingly searching for her husband, and taking pleasure in his absence. After this quote, Mrs. Foster calls the elevator repairman, and it becomes clear that Mrs. Foster likely left her husband stranded in a broken elevator while she spent six weeks in Paris.

"My name is Peter Williamson, my rank is Squadron Leader and my number is nine seven two four five seven."

Peter Williamson ("Beware of the Dog")

After Peter learns that he has been captured, he recalls what his Intelligence Officer told him to share: his name, rank, and number, and nothing else. This final quote shows that Peter sticks to that protocol and does not reveal anything else.

'"I, too!" Drioli was shouting. "I, too, have a picture by this painter! He was my friend and I have a picture which he gave me!"'

Drioli ("Skin")

In this quote, Drioli forces himself through the gallery as the attendants try to force him out due to his poverty. Drioli reveals his Chaim Soutine tattoo to his detriment, but also presents a jarring class commentary: though artists themselves often go hungry, and have impoverished friends, once they become famous their art can serve as a force for the enrichment of others and a pretext for excluding the poor.

"I can see it now, that hand of hers; it had only one finger on it, and a thumb."

Narrator ("Man From the South")

The black-haired woman explains to the cadet, the English girl, and the narrator that she won everything from the old man a long time ago, and that he has nothing to bet despite his dangerous bet with the young cadet. As the cadet returns the woman's keys, she reaches her hand out, showing she only has one finger and a thumb. This suggests that the woman has played the old man's game many times, and eventually won.

"Give us strength, oh Lord, to let our children starve."

Narrator ("The Great Automatic Grammatizator")

In this quote, the narrator hopes to preserve their integrity by not signing Knipe's contract. Though the narrator has nine starving children, they decide it is best to continue writing honestly instead of signing themselves away.