How does the landlady treat Jerry in The Zoo Story?

Quick answer:

In The Zoo Story, the landlady acts very badly towards Jerry. She's forever leaning around the entrance hall, spying on him to make sure he doesn't bring in any things or people. She also corners Jerry when she's drunk, forcing him into a conversation with her.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In his conversation with Peter, Jerry makes it crystal clear that he has no time for his landlady. He describes her as a “fat, ugly, mean, stupid, unwashed, misanthropic, cheap, drunken bag of garbage.” Strong words, indeed, and Jerry would dearly love to use even stronger language in describing her, but as he doesn't use profanities, he candidly admits that he can't describe her as well as he might.

Apparently, Jerry's landlady treats him very badly. For one thing, she's always leaning around in the entrance hall, spying on him to make sure he doesn't bring in any people or things.

When she gets drunk on her midafternoon pint of lemonade gin, she always stops Jerry in the hall, grabbing a hold of his coat or arm before pressing her body against him in a corner so that she can talk to him.

To make matters worse for Jerry, it appears that his landlady has the hots for him; she always mumbles something about her room and how he should come there. As well as spying on Jerry, which is bad enough, the landlady also appears to regard him as some sort of sex object, which only makes him loathe her more.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial