Comparing short stories- lamb to the slaughter and the speckled band

2138 Words 9 Pages
Comparing short stories- lamb to the slaughter and the speckled band

Lamb to the Slaughter' was written by Roald Dahl in 1954 shortly after the Second World War. Roald Dahl is famous for writing children's stories, like Charlie and the chocolate factory and James and the
Giant Peach. Roald Dahl also writes stories for adults. Lamb to the slaughter is a fine example of an adult murder mystery story. Lamb to the slaughter is about a housewife waiting for her husband to come.
When he does return home, he gives her bad news. Dazed by this news, she goes to the freezer to cook lamb for their supper but without warning strikes her husband over the head with it. She
…show more content…
It is clear that she did not plan to murder her husband - she struck him with a moment of rage. We wouldn't expect Mary Maloney to kill her husband, as it appears that she loves him and seems a calm person. Mary Maloney was successful with this murder. She got away with it clean and easily disposed of the evidence. Mary Maloney's motives for killing her husband was that it appears her husband is going to leave her but Dahl does not make it clear what the bad news was. If this story was written in Conan Doyle's time, and then the audience would be shocked, they would not have expected a woman to be a murderer. But as the story was written in 1954, it is more believable that Mary Maloney killed her husband because women had more rights in 1954 than in 1892 and were treated more equally. Mary
Maloney didn't seem the murderous type, but at the end of the story when she giggled, there seems to be a change in her character.

In the speckled band, Conan Doyle makes Doctor Roylott a stereotypical villain. He is described as a large, violent man with a short temper.
' A large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun, and marked with every evil passion.' We would expect the villain in a murder mystery to be an evil, dark and sly person, which is what Doyle has done.

Dr Grimesby Roylott's motive for killing Julia Stoner and attempting to kill Helen Stoner was so he would not have to give his late wife's inheritance to
Open Document