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Lamb to the Slaughter Analysis

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by

Roi Levy

on 28 December 2015

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Transcript of Lamb to the Slaughter Analysis

Lamb to the Slaughter
Introduction
Plot Summary
Setting
Warm and clean room
two table lamps -> not well-lit
medium sized house with garage
near to grocer
Character Analysis
Protagonist
: Mary Maloney
Antagonist
: Patrick Maloney
Themes
Patrick betrayed Mary when he decided to leave her -> broke marriage vow
Mary betrayed Patrick when she killed him and tried to get away with it
What is the Feminist Approach?
Describes and analyzes literature portrayal of male domination in regard to females
explores economic, social, political, and psychological aspects
Feminist Approach
Support #1
Mary's description fits the gender roles of 1950's
the female was seen as obedient, serving husband and cooking
male works full-time out of home
Mary Maloney
Housewife, unemployed, pregnant
At first:
submissive, calm, happy, caring, loving
Quote: "slow smiling air about her ... curiously tranquil"
Later on
: scheming, deceiving, cold-hearted
Patrick Maloney
Works full-time as detective, wants to leave his wife
Impolite, insensitive, authoritative
Mr. Maloney treats Mary as inferior
Women were not given equal respect
"For God sake!", "Sit down"
Sam asks what she will give her
husband
for dessert
Police dismiss her as a suspect quickly and leave her on the crime scene

Feminist Approach
Support #2
Feminist Approach
Support #3
INTRODUCTION
Mary Maloney, a submissive and dependent housewife awaits arrival of her husband from work
Always happy when he comes home, serves him alcohol
Mr. Maloney, unappreciative, short rude replies
RISING ACTION
Inciting Incident
: breaks the news to Mary
Patrick Maloney tells wife they are splitting up
requests that she does not make "any fuss" as it would "not be good for his job"
Mary, in shock pretends like nothing wrong happened
Conflict: person vs. person (Mr. and Mrs. Maloney)
CLIMAX
Mary Maloney comes from the basement with a lamb leg for dinner
With this, she hits her husband, killing him
FALLING ACTION
She starts to devise a plan of how to get away with murder
practices in the mirror, creates alibi at the grocery, places lamb leg in oven
Police come to investigate
she offers them lamb for dinner
CONCLUSION
Police proceed to eat the murder weapon: "Probably right under our very noses,"
Mary laughs in other room, gets away with crime
Identity
Mary started as an innocent and submissive woman
became a cold-hearted murderer, which would not have been expected of her -> drastic identity change
Betrayal
Brief Analysis
Title: someone will be unaware of their own slaughter, like a lamb
Husband finished his glass in one swallow -> feels uneasy
Simile
"She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel - almost as a sunbather feels the sun"
Foreshadowing
Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think Mary Maloney immediately killed her husband instead of trying to move on?

2. Do you think Mary may have gotten caught if she had not known the policemen? Why or why not?

3. Do you think Dahl's new depiction of Mary suggests the start of a feminist revolution?
Irony
Title: instead of a lamb being killed by a human, the opposite occurs
Mary says eating lamb leg is a favour, because it is getting rid of the murder weapon
Police say "right under our noses" and in fact it is
CONCLUSION
THE END!
Full transcript