Lamb to the Slaughter

Lamb to the slaughter is a short story written by Roald Dahl. The character that will be focused on will be Mary Maloney who I find intersesting because of the way she reacts to a bit of news that her husband tells her. Mary Maloney was very relaxed at the start of the story. We can also see that Mary is very organised for her husband returning from work as the story quotes “On the sideboard behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whisky. Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos bucket. Mary was also very calm as the story tells us “There was a slow smiling air about her. ”

And it also told us that she was sewing which isnt something you would do if you were flustered. We were told that Mary took his coat and hung it up for him which shows us that Mary has a great deal of respect for her husband. As Mary rcieved the news that Patrick Maloney was leaving her, a whole load of emotions overcame her. We can tell this as the story says that she had “a slight desire to vomit. Mary must also have been thinking that she was dreaming and this was a dream as the story tell us “she couldn’t feel her feet touching the floor. ” Mary must also have been very enraged by the situation as when she went back up to the living room she hit Patrick over the back of the head with a frozen leg of lamb. At first we were told that the noise of Patrick hitting the ground took Mary out of shock and she finally realised what she had done.

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Mary’s first response was “So I’ve killed him. ” This wasn’t what I expected Mary’s reaction to be as she was such a caring and loving person at the start of the story. After this she decided to go to the green grocer to get something to eat to make it look like the murder happened when she was out. Once she came back she phoned the police. Once the police arrive at the house Mary knew a few of them since Patrick was a police officer. Since Mary had been at the green grocer she had an alibi.

Not only did she know that the green grocer could confirm that she was there, the lamb was in the oven which she then asked the police men to eat as a favour as she wouldn’t be able to eat all of it which was pretty crafty as she had disposed of the evidence. Mary also seemed to be acting very upset which helped her as the police genuinely thought she was out when Patrick was murdered and had discovered his body on her return. Mary was surprisingly very calm and relaxed. We can see this because when she thinks of her alibi she can think on her feet and can be very sly if she needs to be.

At the very end of the story Mary sits in her chair and giggles to herself whilst the policemen are eating the evidence. I was quite shocked to see how this character had developed throughout the story. The writer the caring and sinister sides to the character which helps us understand to what extent the character can act in a sensible manor. In conclusion I found this character interesting because Mary seemed so calm and relaxed throughout the story. The writer managed to do this in a very crafty way by use of language and especially by varying the sentence length.