Tension In Roald Dahl's Lamb To The Slaughter

Decent Essays

Tension is a factor of life that is felt intuitively which means that it is hard to define and even harder to convey, especially on a page. In his work “Lamb to the Slaughter” Roald Dahl perfectly executes creating tension within his writing and in doing so within his reader. In his work he creates tension through the inner and outer conflicts between characters, the meticulous decision of characterization, and the conscious choice of places irony in the piece.
In the piece “Lamb to the Slaughter” Roald Dahl naturally creates tension through the inner and outer conflicts of his characters. In the work Roald Dahl has the wife character, Mary Maloney, say to her husband, Patrick, “But you must eat! I’ll fix it anyway,” (3) She says this to Patrick even after he repeatedly tells her to sit down because he is not hungry. This is the first time Mary directly disobeys her husband. This conflict creates tension because it finally breaks her Patrick's thinning patience in the story so far, which leads him to break and tell her news that upsets her. Roald Dahl also creates tension by having Mary kill her husband, which is a conflict with a permanent consequence. On page 5 she thinks, “So I’ve killed him,” this is after Patrick admits something, the details unknown to the reader, that greatly upsets Mary, and the reader’s watch as her honest shock turns into a brief moment of violence. When Mary hits Patrick over the head with a lamb leg it creates tension because it is the first time

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