Man from the South; Appearance and Reality

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The student has studied five short stories by Roald Dahl and focuses on three of them: The Landlady, Man from the South, and Lamb to the Slaughter. Man from the South is set in a seemingly relaxed and fun environment in a Jamaican resort, but the story reveals the true nature of the South American man, Carlos, who turns out to be a mentally unstable gambling addict. The language used by Dahl is descriptive and makes the reader see the setting clearly, while the portrayal of Carlos as friendly and warm before revealing his true nature creates a shock factor.

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Prose Assignment I have studied five short stories by Roald Dahl which are The Landlady, Neck, Dip in the Pool, Man from the South and Lamb to the Slaughter. I am going to focus on The Landlady, Man from the South and Lamb to the Slaughter. Man from the South Man from the South is set in a hotel in Jamaica. Roald Dahl makes it seem a relaxing and fun environment. The characters include an English man, a South American man, an English girl and an American sailor. The story is about a strange bet between the South American man; who’s name is Carlos and the American sailor.

The bet is on whether the American sailor’s lighter will strike ten times consecutively. He bets his little finger and Carlos bets a car. The story is very tense towards the end, but all is saved when Carlos’ carer runs into the hotel room where the bet is been carried out and stops the bet from carrying on, revealing Carlos is a raving gambling addict and he doesn’t own a thing in the world. The setting appears to be relaxing and fun, housing young sailors and flirtatious girls. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves. Many unsuspecting teenagers play in the pool whilst adults relax and sunbathe, like any normal holiday resort.

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The reality is very different as the Jamaican resort has a mentally unstable, gambling addict in its midst. Although Dahl makes the resort seem like a safe, harmless place, the truth is further away from that fact as one might think, as we find out when Carlos begins betting with the unsuspecting American sailor. The language Dahl uses is very descriptive. “There were plenty of deck-chairs around the swimming pool and there were white tables and huge brightly coloured umbrellas and sunburned men and women sitting around in bathing suits”.

The adjectives used all make the reader see the setting clearly and give the story more of a shock factor when the reality of the setting is uncovered. Dahl makes Carlos seem trusting and friendly by giving him a white suit and a quirky walk. “He was immaculately dressed in a white suit and he walked very quickly with little bouncing strides, pushing himself high up on his toes with each step”. His walk makes him seem friendly because it’s bouncy and quite happy, not slumped and lazy, and his white suit makes him seem rich and quite bright. Before the truth about Carlos his accent seems funny and quite sweet, when the truth is revealed it ecomes creepy and nasty. Although Carlos looks kind and warm, the reality is shocking and quite disturbing. This warm man we came to know turn out to be calculating “bouncing along the side of the pool, looking at the people and the chairs” This shows me Carlos was looking for somebody to pick on, somebody who looked quite naive and young. “I am sorry, the woman said” shows Carlos has hurt the woman but knew she would apologise for him, in his calculating little mind, he knows nothing will go really wrong for him, as long as he has his small protector by his side.

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Man from the South; Appearance and Reality. (2017, Feb 11). Retrieved from

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