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Lamb to the Slaughter Essay

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Introduction

´╗┐Lamb to the Slaughter Essay ?Lamb to the Slaughter? by Roald Dahl is a short story with a surprise ending. The theme of the story is deception. In the story Mr Patrick Maloney, a police officer, seemed a happy married man to his pregnant wife, Mrs. Mary Maloney. Mr Maloney comes home one night, shocking his wife with the news he is leaving her. Mrs. Maloney is in great shock and she kills her husband, with a frozen leg of lamb. Throughout the opening section of the story Roald Dahl takes great care in revealing Mary Maloney's character as being content with her situation in life. The narrator describes Mary's home as being ?...warm and clean?: ?...the two table lamps alight- hers and the one by the empty chair opposite...? This shows she is eagerly waiting for her husband?s return and has everything ready and waiting for him. This description suggests that Mary?s home is a friendly place where she and her husband live happily. ...read more.

Middle

Initially she is shocked by her own action and she just: ?she stood for a while blinking at the body...? The word ?blinking? emphasises how unrealistic the situation is to Mary. She seems to be standing in disbelief and horror at first. However, it seems that Mary?s impulsive action has had a major effect on her as she is unable to show any real emotion. This may seem appalling to us because we expect her to have an immediate breakdown and be very upset. Possibly Mary never even really loved Patrick and she only realised this once he is dead. This is a turning point in the story as our view of Mary has changed greatly. Before Mary goes to the shop she practises what she is going to say to the shop owner, Sam. She is trying to sound as if nothing has happened so: ?She rehearsed it several times more,? She wants to sound as if that was just a regular day and she has just gone to the shop because ?he?s caught me without any vegetables in the house? and Mary wants to please her husband with a nice dinner. ...read more.

Conclusion

They have a theory: ?Get the weapon and you?ve got the man,? The detectives have and image in their mind of the murderer and since it?s a man, Mary would be one of the last people they suspect. This helps Mary to get away with what she did and it also shows that the policemen have a stereotypical image of the murderer and they are not very smart. This makes us feel sorry for Mary and her unborn child because the policemen are so foolish. In the end of the story, Mary convinces the policemen to have a drink and a meal and they do so because they feel sympathy for her. She cooks the lamb and gives it to them to eat. Although they think the murder weapon is ?right under our very noses?, even if they finally worked it out they would have no evidence as they ate it- this is very ironic. In a way, Mary got away with the perfect murder and she was not caught. This story has a very surprise ending and our image of Mary changes throughout. ...read more.

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