Lamb to the Slaughter
“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. At this early stage in her life it seems that Mary is very much contented with her life. The author depicts Mary as being the perfect housewife and the reader is not suspicious of her in any way.
Mary is waiting for her husband to return home after a long hard day of work so that they can go out because she hasn’t “made any supper because it’s Thursday”. Mary is in her: