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Lamb to the Slaughter

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Stephanie Van

on 12 May 2011

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Transcript of Lamb to the Slaughter

Lamb to the Slaughter Exposition By: Stephanie Van The beginning takes place in Mary and Patrick Maloney's
house. Mary and Patrick are expecting a child in around 3 months, since Mary is 6 months pregnant. Patrick is a policeman and Mary has no job at the moment. Rising Action Force of Antagonism Climax Object of Desire * Inciting Incident Falling Action Resolution The inciting incident in this short story
is when Mary gets pregnant. This is the inciting incident because this is what drives Mary to have a perfect and happy family. Mary Maloney, the protagonist in Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl, wants a happy life with her husband and child. This desire is put into jeopardy when her husband tells her that he wants to leave her. Her husband leaving her shatters her image of a happy family, because her ideal family revolves around her husband and child. The external conflict that is against her is her husband. He is the force of antagonism that is stopping her from having this happy family. And although he is a part of her object of desire, the fact that he wants to leave her while she’s pregnant makes her see him as something that is in her way of getting what she wants. When she hears the shocking news, she first denies it by ignoring it and going to cook dinner, but she quickly realizes that it’s the truth. Filled with anger she goes on instinct and lets her body react, by taking the leg of the lamb and killing her husband with it. In this particular situation, Mary successfully overcomes this force of antagonism with death to her husband. Mary's object of desire is to have a happy family with her husband, Patrick, and her soon to be born child. Mary wants a happy life by pleasing her husband. By doing so she continues to always do as she is told, and never questions him. When he tells her he is leaving her, she just listens and carries on with what she was doing before. This is internal conflict within herself, because in her head she is always listening to him and doing what is told. When Mary’s husband had just arrived home, she continued to ask if he wanted to dinner or anything to eat, but he kept refusing. Instead of prying, she simply went on with her role as a “good wife”. The force of antagonism is herself, because to get to her object of desire, which is to have a happy family, she cannot have a husband who is going to leave her. But, her mind is always set on listening and pleasing her husband. She soon comes to realize that by being obedient all that she will get in return is an unhappy family, consisting of only her and her child. With shock of what happened, she does the opposite of what her husband wishes, which is to “needn’t really be any fuss.”(Page 33), and kills him. She overcomes her obedient self to get the happy family that she wants. The setting emphasizes Mary’s state of mind in the beginning. The beginning setting, in her house, she lives a very peaceful and somewhat perfect life. As she waits for her husband, she has no anxiety, because she is absolutely sure he will return. She is in a room that is clean and warm, also she has two glasses and “fresh ice cubes in the ice bucket.”(Page 31) The fresh ice cubes show that everything is nice, fresh and ideal. This emphasizes her state of mind because she is not expecting anything to happen; she is in a pleasant mood and is living her perfect life. The setting is also very prepared for her husband’s arrival; there are glasses that are ready to be served for him. This shows that Mary is very obedient towards her husband, always doing what pleases him and being prepared to serve him. Her curtains are drawn giving a closed off feeling, because if they were open the sun would be shining in and she could see the neighborhood. This closed off feeling represents Mary’s mind because she is closed off with anything that doesn’t have to do with Patrick or her happy family; all she wants is to have the perfect family. In conclusion, Mary’s household emphasizes her mind. The theme in Lamb to the Slaughter is that love makes you blind. I think this is the theme because when Mary’s husband, Patrick, tells her he is planning on leaving her, she did not think it could be true. Love had blinded her to see the truth, since she’s always pleasing him as soon as she hears the news she can’t accept it because she had not done anything wrong. Mary thinks that the fact there are some odd things about Patrick, it is all just a part of their daily routine, because nothing ever goes wrong. Mary thought of him, “She loved the intent, far look in his eye when they rested on her, thee funny shape of the mouth, and especially the way he remained silent about his tiredness, sitting still with himself until some of it went away.”(Page 32) She notices how strange Patrick is acting, yet she covers it up and just continues to believe that it is nothing big at all. Her being oblivious to Patrick’s strangeness is due to the fact that she is so in love with him that nothing else matters, except having a wonderful life with him. When she faces reality, something within her snaps and she changes into a completely different person. The once passive and obedient woman turns into a woman who thinks for herself, and for what benefits for herself. The beginning of the story, the atmosphere was nice and peaceful, but by the end of the story the atmosphere was mischievous and evil as Mary giggled to herself. This shows the transition between her blinded personality, and then when she is seeing reality. While she is blinded by love she does not act the way she wishes, but instead accordingly to how Patrick wants her too. By the end of the short story Mary finally reveals her true colors.
The theme love makes you blind, relates in reality because when people get a boyfriend/girlfriend, they tend to forget about everything else. People forget about everything else and end up just wanting to please their partner. Many students may start to dress the way their boyfriends/girlfriends likes them to, they will change the way they talk, and in general they will change anything to keep their boyfriends/girlfriends happy. Everyone wants the “forever and always” and because of that this ideal image of how they should be with each other. They want to be happy, and they especially want their partner to be happy. They are blinded by love, until something happens like a break up etc., and they are forced to look at reality. I think this theme does relate in reality because many teenagers and adults go through this issue. Patrick arrives home, and continuously ignores Mary's offers for food and any other form of help. He also tells her about how he plans on leaving her. Mary then goes into denial and decides to go to the basement and get him a leg of lamb for dinner. Mary take the leg of the lamb and kills Patrick with it, by hitting the lamb directly on top of his head. The object of desire was not reached to because without a father her happy family isn't ideal anymore. Mary goes to the grocery to get herself an alibi and pretends nothing went wrong. She then goes home and calls the police to inform them there has been a murder. The police come to do an investiagation, but they can not find the weapon that was used. Mary gives the lamb that she cooked (the one that she killed her husband with) to the police men to eat. She giggles to herself. Mary 6 months pregnant. External conflict: Her husband is in the way of her having a happy family, since he is leaving her. Effect of Events Many people are affected by Mary killing Patrick. Mary is affected because she killed him and she will always know that his death was caused by her; she'll be living with guilt for the rest of her life. Mary's future child will also be affected, because he/she will grow up without a father. Patrick's friends/policemen will be affected as well, because they were Patrick's friends and will surely miss him. Fresh ice that Mary has prepared for Patrick. Patrick is the external conflict. Patrick rejects her offer to bring him cheese. Mary kills Patrick with a frozen lambchop. Mary is blinded by love. Mary has a satisfying laugh at the end knowing she got away with her crime.
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