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Lamb Essay

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"Lamb Essay" Lamb is a novel written by Bernard Mac Laverty in 1980 and it is set in the beginning in a strict catholic home for boys in Galway. The novel surrounds the lives of the Christian Brothers who are priests that run the home and also the boys who are sent there to live. Brother Benedict is the spiritual leader who heads the Christian Brothers that run the home. He is tyrannical, cruel and bullied both Owen Kane and Brother Sebastian in the home. In contrast to him Brother Sebastian a young priest under his authority that is humane and compassionate in his treatment of the boys in the home. This is shown in Brother Benedict's bullying of a young boy in the home called Owen Kane and also by Brother Sebastian's defence of him and the fact that he helps the boy escape with him. When after escaping the Home things don't work out for Owen Kane and Brother Sebastian, so the idea of killing Owen is thought of by Brother Sebastian as an "act of love". I disagree that killing Owen Kane was an "act of love" and I find that Brother Sebastian was a coward and his actions were reprehensible. There are certain parallels between the author and the novel. Brother Sebastian loses his father as the author also did and Owen Kane is 12 which is the same age the author lost his father. Owen Kane's father leaves him never to be heard of again. The loss of this father figure brings about big changes in the author and his characters lives. The author has also dedicated this novel to his father which shows that his relationship with his father was important to him. Another parallel is that the author went to a strict Catholic School, St Malachy's College and in his other book called "The anatomy school" he also criticises the teaching, the oppressive atmosphere and the staff's attitudes towards the pupils. ...read more.


This phrase "act of love" also comes up in the magazine article that the receptionist at the first hotel is reading. It is written by a man called Garth Abrahams so Michael uses the name M Abraham and son to sign the register at the hotel. Yet again the author is showing through names that Michael is like Abraham and Owen is his son who he was asked to sacrifice. Michael tries to act as Owens father in London but he is not mature enough for this role. Unlike the fatherly figure he tries to portray by supplying the boy with shelter, food, clean clothing and even gets him to take a bath Michael fails to take responsibility as the adult in the relationship. Michael offers Owen cigarettes to let him smoke and then takes him to an amusement arcade to gamble on the slot machines. He then brings Owen to a toy shop and along with glider kits he buys the boy a fake gun and a real knife. Michael then draws attention to them both by borrowing a bread board and a ruler from the hotel receptionist which shows he is not thinking about his actions. Michael then asks Owen if he would like to join in at a birthday party in the hotel and this causes Owen to tears of embarrassment as Owen knew he would not fit in and yet again Michael would have been attracting attention to them by making Owen join the other kids at the party. Owen would have stood out as he was not brought up in a home like the other children at the party and would have had a Dublin accent. This could have got them both caught in London but Michael is unaware of how to deal with these situations. Then to make matters worse Michael pulls out a lot of money and he ends up losing it on a bet and finds that the tree men around him have tricked him. ...read more.


Michael wants to protect Owen but he feels that living with Haddock is too dangerous for them both as Haddock finds out just who Michael really is. Haddock is described as having "a sly look about him" and being "slimy". When Michael realises what Haddock is capable of he then knows that he must follow out the plan and go back to Ireland. Michael tries to be like his father in the way that he was the "perfect father". Hi father had a utilitarian view of life and we are told that he killed a gull and some rabbits to save them from pain. Michael too thinks that by killing Owen he will be saving him from pain. The final chapter is the longest as it has a lot of detail to build up suspense towards the climactic ending. Michael justifies killing Owen as he feels it is an act of love and mercy to protect him from returning to the violence of the Home or to some Dublin slum with his ""totally inadequate and snivelling mother" as Michael describes her. When Owen describes how the felling of going into a fit makes him happy and says he would like to feel that way all of the time Michael also uses this to justify how he kills him. I think that Michael was wrong to kill Owen as there could have been a lot of ways in which to save him from the Home without murdering him. I don't think there is an excuse to kill a child even if it is to save him from the violence of a Home it isn't a decision that Michael had the right to make. The only excuse that I can think of is that he was affected by depression when his father died and that he wasn't thinking straight at the time and he could see no other way out for him and Owen. ?? ?? ?? ?? ELAINE SCRIBBONS LAMB ESSAY ...read more.

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