Lamb To The Slaughter Roald Dahl

1130 Words5 Pages
In “Lamb to the Slaughter”, the author, Roald Dahl depicts Mary Maloney is waiting for her husband, Patrick Maloney who works as a police officer. However, when Patrick comes back home, he decides to leave his families. Mary murdered her husband impulsively, as a six-month pregnant mother, she has no idea how things will turn out for her and her baby. In order to stay out of her crime, she tries to have an alibi from the grocer and destroys the murder—a leg of lamb. By narrating from Mary’s perspective, the author convinces the readers that even though Mary commits the crime, the unsuccessful marriage, the specificity of pregnancy and the greatness of maternity help to declare Mary’s motivation of her crime and doubts about Mary’s full responsibility…show more content…
The author persuades the readers to feel empathy for Mary’s condition and also to understand the cause of her uncertain emotions. By starting with the setting of a pregnant woman waiting for husband to come back home, the author depicts it is “her sixth month expecting a child” (1). Then, Dahl notes that Mary uses “the big frozen leg of lamb” to hit Patrick (2). Through Dahl’s description of Mary, a pregnant woman is certainly in a vulnerable mental condition when anything subtle can trigger her breakdown. Although the readers might blame Mary for her vital behavior towards her husband, they will take the idea of Mary as a pregnant woman eventually as Dahl expects to implant the concept into their minds. The author expresses Mary’s uncertainty of her mood from “[crying] hard” after looking her husband “lying there on the floor” to “[begin] to laugh” while the detectives are eating the weapon (3-4). Dahl uses dramatic irony to show Mary’s severe mood swings distinctly. Mentally unstable is one of the symptoms of pregnancy which implies it is acceptable for Mary to kill her husband during her hard time dealing with unstable emotions. Hence, the specificity of a pregnant woman’s role connects the readers to produce a strong sense of empathy and knows it is Mary’s pregnancy which leads her to those decisive…show more content…
Dahl writes, “She did everything without thinking” (2). By using the lamb, Mary “hit [Patrick]” which she finally realizes “[she’s] killed [Patrick] (2). Even though she does not know what she is actually doing, it is true that she has committed a crime. Based on the standard of common morality, the things Mary does are not to be judged righteous. Whereas, the author uses one paragraph to depict Mary’s detailed thoughts after she realizes she kills her husband. Dahl writes, “What were the laws about murderers with unborn children? Did they kill them both—mother and child? (2)”. Although she “didn’t know” and “wasn’t prepared to take a chance”, Mary Maloney decides to protect her unborn baby (2). Mary “practiced [her smile and words] several times more” and “went out” to “the neighborhood grocery” (2). After she comes back home and calls the police, Mary offers the colleagues of Patrick to “eat up the lamb in the oven” (4). The author highlights Mary’s inner thoughts which allows the readers to know what Mary is thinking as a role of mother. Dahl means to build a connection between Mary and the readers by drawing the readers’ attention to Mary. It provides a background to create an alibi and as well as to conceal the truth of Patrick’s death by cooking the weapon. Therefore, the author reveals the reason why Mary wants to hide her crime. Just like Mary is comforting herself for what she has done, it is not only for herself but
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