Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl Roald Dahl has published several novels and nearly 50 short stories all of which, without exemption, are fascinating, intriguing and bizarre to say the least. One of Dahl's more famous stories is "Lamb to the Slaughter". 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. This clever story is crafted down to the smallest detail - every word and expression implies something, often has a second meaning and so manipulates the reader's opinion. The factor that makes this story even more …show more content…
The next several paragraphs prove just how much Mary loved her husband and explain why "She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man". However, the more reasons Mary gives for loving her husband and the more attempts she makes to please him it becomes clearer and clearer that something is wrong - Patrick is avoiding conversation and is becoming increasingly more irritated with Mary for her attempts to please to him. When Mr. Malloney cannot bear another moment of the fuss that has been created around him by his wife, he loses his nerve and tells at Mary to "just for a minute, sit down". Patrick tells his wife, which by the evidence in the text I assume is, that he is leaving her. The sentence that led me to the conclusion that Mr Malloney is leaving his wife is "She sat very still through it all, watching him with a kind of dazed horror as he went further and further away from her with each word". Another quote I feel necessary to mention to prove my conclusion of what Patrick said to his wife is "and I know that it's kind of a bad time to be telling you, but there simply wasn't any other way. Of course I'll give you money and see you are looked after" - it is now obvious that Patrick is leaving his wife because
Mary begins the story as a doting housewife going through her daily routine with her husband. She is content to sit in his company silently until he begins a conversation. Everything is going as usual until he goes “ slowly to get himself another drink” while telling Mary to “sit down” (Dahl 1). This shocks Mary as she is used to getting things for him. After downing his second drink, her husband coldly informs her that he is leaving her and the child. This brutal news prompts the first change in Mary, from loving wife to emotionless and detached from everything.
Mrs. Maloney gets away with the murder in the end. This caused by a revolting ending in which he police detectives eat the leg of lamb that was used to kill Patrick. The writer creates an unbelievable ending by making the story, up to the murder, set in a very normal family house. It is not somewhere you would associate with a morbid killing. The writer builds up an impression that the marriage may not be as good as it could be, and both were under strain not to release the tension onto each other.
Mary has three distinct personalities throughout the story. In the beginning of the short story, “Lamb to the Slaughter” she seems like a devoted wife to her husband, Patrick. For instance, “The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight-hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. On the
Lamb to the Slaughter, written by Roald Dahl is a short story which explores certain issues within society which were initiated during the 1950s and are still present today. The themes of stereotypical gender roles, betrayal and destroyed innocence are all common within the story as well as society. These issues were enhanced through the techniques of dialogue, foreshadowing and symbolism/metaphors. Lamb to the Slaughter is a short story which explores common societal issues that were present during the 1950s and are still found in today’s culture.
But at the end, miraculously, they succeeded in coming together to reestablish the harmony that they may have lost forever—and Patrick can be entirely credited for this. The past event of Marianne’s rape transformed him into an emotional, somewhat sensitive adult, enlightening him to the importance of family. At the reunion, Patrick “let his hand fall on my (Judd’s) shoulder. Brotherly, affectionate” (Oates Loc 8674), illustrating the strengthened bond between the two brothers which would have been unimaginable a decade ago. Without Patrick joining in on the new, intimate amelioration, it would have been impossible for the Mulvaneys to truly reach wholeness.
Throughout the story Dahl also use Verbal Irony to make Mary seem as an innocent being and not knowing anything that happened. After the death of her husband, she sets a plot to show that she didn't know her husband was dead. In the story, Mary tells the clerk, “Patrick had decided he is tired and doesn't want to eat out” (Dahl 320). This is a lie because Patrick never wanted food. Mary is saying this to make it look like she is cooking for the both of them and like nothing happened that night. Later that night when Mary gets home, she walks in asking her husband how he is doing (Dahl 321). Thus, this is verbal irony being used by Mary because she knows that her husband is dead on the floor. She say this trying to
Author also surprises readers, when he introduces conflict between a couple that used to love each other deeply. Diverting the story from love to betrayal, author develops an irony. In the story, reader sees two examples of betrayal. Ms. Maloney, while talking with her tired husband, finds out her husband no longer want to keep their marriage. Without giving any kind of reason, Patrick betrays her wife with a decision of breaking marriage. Mary shocks, when her husband, boldly, says, “ This is going to be bit shock of you”(P. Maloney) Author creates a total opposite picture of Patrick by describing him as a husband who used to give her wife surprises; he is now giving her shock in the middle of her pregnancy. Mary, who was previously shown as “anxiety less”(Dahl), with “a slow smiling air”(Dahl) and “curiously tranquil”(Dahl), had began to get upset and now inculcate her eye with a “bewildered look.” After betrayed by her husband, she, without any argue, she goes to the basement to look for frozen food. She decides to have leg of a lamb as a last dinner with her husband, but she smashes the frozen leg in to Patrick’s head with killing him. Mary betrays her husband by killing him and takes revenge of her betrayal. Later, Author confirms her as a murdered with the statement of “I’ve killed him”(Mary) from her own lips. Dahl, in the story,
In the short story Lamb to the Slaughter, by Roald Dahl, has many examples of imagery, irony, details, and language which keeps the
Mallard being a bad husband, the author makes no implications to such a thing. In fact, we are told that he “had never looked save with love upon her,” (CITE) which would imply she had no real ill feelings toward Mr. Mallard. That is, she had no real grounds for her negativity towards him. She even tried to appeal to her own emotions by pointing this reasoning out to herself, but in the end, she put up a poor defense of how she deserved to feel elated over her husband’s death. “What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion…” (CITE) Mrs. Mallard allowed her selfish emotions to take over, “her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her.” (CITE) This possibly even ruined a good thing between her and her husband. Then again, the love in the relationship seemed very one sided as Mrs. Mallard admitted that her love for her husband was not complete. The way she tosses aside a relationship like she did makes it challenging for one to sympathize with Mrs. Mallard's character.
The story continues to reveal a conflict Mrs. Mallard may have had in the relationship with her husband. Though she speaks about him lovingly and knows that he loved her, there is something deeper that is brought to the surface in
Throughout the entire story, Mary is a very interesting character. She faces many issues in dealing with her husband’s news that he is leaving her. She reacts based on her instincts and kills her husband and this shows her cold heartedness. In the end she has to create an alibi to cover up her devious crime in which she has to manipulate the police into eating the evidence. Mary is a very unique complex character and she has, through her actions conducted a devious crime in which she will be proven innocent. Through the use of Many Maloney’s character, as well as irony and suspense, the author was able to maintained the interest of the reader throughout the entire short story.
Mary replied saying “‘I’ll get it!’ she cried, jumping up, ‘Sit down,’ he said”. I think Mary Maloney didn’t necessarily need to be watching her husbands’ every move, she needed to relax in his presence and not be concerned for him. In this instance she flew out of her chair, I can’t comprehend why she needed to be on top of every one of his needs. Sure, Mary Maloney loved her husband – but there was no urgency to care for every single little thing he ever did or needed, especially at that moment. Mary needed to loosen up around Patrick and not be so star
(654) It is quite apparent that Mrs. Mallard was struggling to fight back certain feelings about her husband?s supposed death. Although she is at first sad, she slowly begins to realize that the death of her husband can mean a number of great things for her. As the story progresses Mrs. Mallard eventually solves her internal conflict by accepting her husband?s death as a gift.
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