The short story, “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, is about a pregnant wife whose husband comes home, and shares shocking news with Mary Maloney, his wife. Mary grabs a leg of lamb from the freezer and comes back and kills her husband, Patrick. The police come to investigate, but they eat the lamb that was used to kill Patrick. Dahl uses dramatic irony and symbolism to reveal common sense goes out the window when it comes to illegal matter.
First and foremost, Mary Maloney had over reacted to her husband's news. This was not the typical overreaction with whining and crying. Mary maloney had killed her husband. In the story Mary maloney receives bad news from her husband. Mary then goes downstairs to grab a leg of lamb for dinner but instead of making it, she smashed it on
She lifted it out, and looked at it---a leg of lamb “ (Page 2). The fact that Mary Maloney can’t even feel herself doing anything, corresponds to how shocked she is. As a matter of fact, that is when her consciousness of her action momentarily fades away. She cannot accept the fact that her beloved husband would betray her like this, but in a way, the introduction to the story already tells us that their relationship isn’t strong and loving. Also, Mary is shown to have picked the very first thing she found, which was a lamb leg. This proves that she had no intention of premeditating a weapon beforehand, but instead used whatever she could find to let out her emotions. In addition, pregnant women are more emotionally unstable and because of that Mary Maloney couldn’t handle the stress of the news her husband told her. The final quote that proves her temporary insanity is, “She stepped back, waiting, and the strange thing was that he remained standing there for at least four or five seconds. Then he crashed onto the carpet. The violence of the crash, the noise, the small table overturning, helped to bring her out of the shock… It was extraordinary, now, how clear her mind became all of a sudden. She began thinking very fast. As the wife of a detective, she knew what the punishment would be…In fact, it would be a relief. On the other hand, what about the baby ” (Page 2)? Not only did she regain her consciousness, moments after her husband’s death, but she also
Dahl’s protagonist in “Lamb to Slaughter”, Mary Maloney, displays her deceitful nature when her husband comes home from a long day of work. Mary kills Patrick with a frozen leg of lamb after he informs her that he wants a divorce. Immediately thereafter, she goes to the store to purchase vegetables. This is the beginning of her deceit. Mary clearly does not need vegetables. Her trek to the store is her way of creating an an alibi. This adds another layer to her deception. Here, she engages in a conversation with a seemingly familiar clerk, Sam. She informs him that Patrick “decided he’s tired and doesn’t want to eat out tonight” (Dahl 3). This gives Sam the impression that her husband is still alive when in all actuality, he is dead. She has added yet another layer to her level of deception. Mary’s deception has no limits. She eventually deceives herself into thinking she did not murder her husband. She convinces herself that she is “not expecting to find
This is a twisted, gripping tale of Mary Maloney, who murders her own husband by hitting him with a frozen leg of lamb and then hiding her crime and disposing of the evidence by feeding the lamb to the policemen who come to investigate the murder.
Dahl’s use of dramatic irony during the story helps displays the actions of Mary Maloney and other characters. Mary Maloney swings the leg of the lamb to the back of the head of her husband. Dahl says, “ 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” (Dahl 320). As a result, this quote is effective because the lamb was used as a weapon, instead of food; which shows that Mary could use anything to harm someone without her trying or when it was her attempt to hurt that someone. The story writes, “Probably right under our very noses. What you think, Jack”. In the same way as the first quote, this sets back to Mary because she sabotages the police to eat the lamb. With the police eating the lamb she is getting rid of the evidence so she does not get caught. From the use of dramatic irony in the story, Dahl's builds Mary as a character; he also uses different irony to create her.
The conflict in “Lamb to the Slaughter” is, that Mary. Maloney, a devoted housewife, six months pregnant, kills her husband with a leg of lamb after he tells her that he is planning on leaving her. In the very beginning, the atmosphere is very calm. Mary Maloney is peacefully sewing in her living room waiting for her husband, a police officer, to come home from work. After his arrival, they silently sit in the living room drinking whisky. Mrs. Maloney watches her husband very carefully but after he swallows his whisky very quickly and gets another stronger drink, the reader notices that something is unusual. Before she wants to fix something for supper, her husband stops her and tells her, even though it isn’t exactly conveyed to the reader, that he
Literary elements and writer’s craft are essential to a well written story that gives understanding and meaning to the readers. Authors use these elements to add deeper meaning to a story that otherwise is as dull and same as the rest. The short story Lamb to the Slaughter is about a wife who kills her husband and then tries to cover it up. The Leap, another short story, is about a girl who is telling stories about her mother’s life. Both short stories portray and utilize literary elements and writer’s craft but Lamb to the Slaughter uses them more effectively and clearly.
Mary is very manipulative in that she is able to create the character of the poor, pregnant wife, whose husband has just been murdered. She is able to convince the police to take pity on her, to mix her a drink and then to even eat the evidence, the leg of lamb that she has left in the oven. "Why don’t you eat up that lamb that is in the oven" (Dahl, p. 17). Mary realizes that if the police find the evidence she will go to jail. Her quick thinking and manipulative character results in the police officers eathign the evidence and therefore she cannot be charged of this crime. These actions show the complex character that Mary Maloney truly is.
In Roald Dahl’s short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” , Mary Maloney murders her husband, a detective, after he declares that he is leaving her. Mary then has to cover her tracks or else she and her unborn child will be killed. Throughout the story, Mary’s character changes from loving wife to cold killer and back again based on her situation.
Mary Maloney is a sympathetic character because she covered up Patrick’s death to protect her baby. All of the tricking and deceiving she did was to save her unborn child from what could have happened as a result of her actions. She did not know what the laws were for murdered with unborn babies and she did not want to find out. Dahl states, “ What were the laws about murderers with unborn children? Did they kill both-mother and child? Or did they wait until the tenth month? Mary Maloney didn’t know. And she certainly wasn’t prepared to take a chance” (3). Mary’s number one concern was for her baby. She did not want
"Lamb to the Slaughter", by Roald Dahl, uses literary techniques, effectively, to convey the story. The story depicts the actions of Mary Maloney who murders her husband, a police detective, after he announces that he is leaving her and her unborn child. Dahl uses the dialogue throughout the story to illustrate the time the story is set, the 1950's. He also uses common stereotypes, such as gender roles, to provide context to the story. "Lamb to the Slaughter" is a story based around the theme of betrayal. The first sense of betrayal we get as the audience in the story is when Patrick Maloney, the husband, makes the decision to leave his wife. This betrayal then seems minor to what happens next, the murder of Patrick, which creates the underlining theme of betrayal. Dahl uses techniques to make clear the context, characters, and purpose of the story, some of these include: the idiom used in the title, the irony, and the narrative point of view.
Societal norms show the worlds various good and bad ideologies. In the story, Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl a woman named Mary kills her husband with a leg of lamb. Then, she calls the cops and tells them that her husband is dead. After that, she feeds the murder weapon to the cops on the scene. The portrayal of women as the bad cop, the preconceived notion of a female's role in society, and implied dependence on men are all themes in Lamb to the Slaughter. In using the wife as the murderer, Roald Dahl shows the human desire to exact revenge.
To start off, it can be clearly seen from the short story that Mary Maloney is guilty. She makes a conscious effort to make sure she reacts as if she has not committed this crime in the text “Lamb to Slaughter” she says, “If she finds anything unusual or terrible when she got home, then it would be a shock and she would have to react with grief and horror.”(Dahl 383) By her stating this it shows that she knows she is guilty and that she killed her husband. The main reason I chose this quote was that it shows that she knows what she is talking about and that she has to act like this otherwise she will be caught and
Mary in “Lamb to the Slaughter” and Minnie Foster, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters in “A Jury of Her Peers” have similarities and differences between the two short stories. Both Mary and Minnie Foster are childless housewives who were fearful of their husbands. The wives were both interrupted from their normal routine by an incident that triggered them to murdering their husbands. After finding out he was leaving her, Mary is shocked into killing her husband with a leg of lamb which they were having for dinner. Minnie puts a rope around her husband’s neck while he is sleeping because he broke her pet canary’s neck. The two stories depict the wives as sympathetic figures who were justified in the crimes; neither murder was premeditated.