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Lamb to the Slaughter

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Marnie Dyball

on 27 July 2014

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Transcript of Lamb to the Slaughter

Lamb to the Slaughter
by Roald Dahl

Roald Dalh

Themes in
Lamb To The Slaughter
Betrayal - Betrayal is a big theme in Lamb to The Slaughter, as Mary feels betrayed by her husbands decision to leave her when she's about to have their baby. At the beginning of the story, Mary seems like she is very in love with Patrick, and did not seem like the person to murder someone, so no one expected it. Ironically, Mary betrays his friends too, through her covering up that she murdered Patrick.

Identity - Mary would never have just randomly thought "Am I capable of murdering my husband in cold blood, even if he did something awful to me?" The answer would defiantly be no. Mary wasn't thinking, and just responded fast without putting any thought into her actions. After she hit Patrick she shocked with herself. So don't think you know yourself for sure, until you've been in the situation.
the detectives eating the evidence
After Mary Maloney kills Patrick with the leg of lamb.

Patrick comes home from work and tells Mary that he's going to leave her
Setting & Era
Lamb to the Slaughter
by Roald Dahl
This short story is about a pregnant housewife named Mary Maloney and her Husband Patrick Maloney, a detective. One night he comes home and says he's going to leave Mary, so she hits him on the head with a leg of lamb and kills him. As she married a detective, she knew how to cover her tracks so she didn't go to jail for the murder.
The symbol of the story is the leg of lamb which is represented as Mary's 'weak and innocent' status..

A lamb symbolizes innocence and weakness, as it usually follows it mother/the leader of the group around. Mary represents a lamb in this story. Her whole world evolves around her husband and she does everything for him; waits until he comes home, cooks for him, gets his things for him. Even when he tells her he wants a divorce, she still gets up and cooks for him, because she is so devoted to him.

Roald Dalh
Roald Dahl was born on September 13th 1916, in Llandaff, South Wales, United Kingdom, to Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl. His father died when he was 4 years old.
Roald soon became enrolled at a St. Peter's school, a British boarding school that his father wanted him to go to.
Roald and his wife; Patricia Neal had 5 children but one sadly died. In 1943 he published his first children's book "The Gremlins " with Walt Disney and in 1945 his first book of short stories appeared in the US.

Roald died in September of 1990.

Tone (mood)
Point of view & Method of Narration
There are two major conflicts in this story. The first of these conflicts is between Mary and Patrick as Patrick tells Mary that he is going to leave her. This ends in Mary hitting Patrick on the head with a frozen leg of lamb. The second conflict is in Mary's attempt to avoid being caught. She knows that if she is caught she will be executed and fears that her unborn child will be killed as well, so she has to lie to the policemen and detectives to make them think that it was not her.
Mary Maloney:

The story's protagonist, is a pregnant house wife who seems over all happy with her life.
"Her skin had acquired a wonderful translucent quality, the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look, seemed larger darker than before."
She's very kind and caring towards her husband . Mary keeps a neat home, and busies herself with preparations for the baby. When Patrick unexpectedly announces that he is ending their marriage, Mary enters a state of shock.

Patrick Maloney
: Is Mary’s husband he is a senior, high-ranking policeman and that he works very hard at his job, as he comes back tired from work. Patrick is very calm but turns to alcohol to muffle his frustrations;
"She knew he didn't want to speak much until the first drink was finished."
He was more concerned about his job than Mary.

The policemen:
They do their best to console her and make sure Mary is okay. They are also the fools of the story because they are made to eat the crime weapon without suspecting anything.

The grocer Mary visits to clean her head and make it seem like she was at the shop when the murder happened. Sam is very caring towards Mary and it seems like Mary goes to that shop quite alot, as Sam knows what she needs to buy.
Mary is at home patiently waiting for her husband to come home.

Inciting action:
Patrick comes home and tells Mary he wants a divorce.

Rising action:
Mary is shocked and acts quickly without thinking, hitting him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb; the first thing she picked up, and kills him.

The detectives point out the leg of lamb (that could of gone very bad...)

Falling action:
The detectives eating the leg of lamb.

The detectives eat the evidence so there is no evidence Mary committed the crime. Mary giggling presumably at the irony of them looking for the weapon while eating it.
The story takes place in the house hold of Mary and Patrick Maloney, at 10 minutes to 5pm and at Sam's shop.
This story is written in 3rd person limited point of view. We can see this because the narrator comments on Mary's thoughts and feelings, but cannot comment on any other characters.

Method of Narration: Roald Dahl chooses to write the story from the point of view of Mary, the protagonist. Right away, readers see the scene through Mary's eyes.

The mood of Lamb to the Slaughter changes quite dramatically as the story progresses. It starts off as calm and peaceful, however suspense quickly builds when Patrick tells Mary he's leaving her. It becomes more suspenseful and dramatic when Mary kills him.
Lamb to the Slaughter is set in the early 1950's which is also when it was first published. Roald Dahl doesn't introduce a specific location or Country that the story is set in, but makes the reader assume that the story is set in a small community town where everybody knows each other.
Full transcript