Lamb to the Slaughter. Roald Dahl. The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight- hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl (). The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight – hers and the one by the. LITERARY FOCUS: TWO KINDS OF IRONY. “Lamb to the Slaughter” contains two kinds of irony. The use of irony upsets our expectations of how the story will.

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Lamb to the Slaughter - by Roald Dahl. Lamb to the — PDF document, 52 kB ( bytes). Document Actions. Print this. Copyright © Rocky. If you were in Mrs. Maloney's position how do you think you would have reacted? Keep in mind: You are completely and madly head over heels in love. "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl is a fun and darkly humorous text to use with students of a variety of ages! Over the years of teaching this fabulous short.

Mary tries to sympathize with the difficulty of his job as a detective, but he ignores her. The husband reinforces his patriarchal power by giving Mary orders and refusing to acknowledge her efforts as his emotional caregiver. Mary repeatedly asks her husband if he would like something to eat, offering suggestions and insisting that he eat.

He refuses every time, telling her again to sit down when she gets up to fetch the food. While he stares down at his now empty glass, Mary waits nervously and scrutinizes him as he prepares to tell her something.

Mary , shocked and unwilling to believe what her husband has told her, decides to act as if nothing has happened.

Absently, she goes down to the cellar and grabs a frozen leg of lamb for dinner. When she returns, her husband tells her not to bother, as he is leaving.

Her husband, however, rejects both her meal and her. Without warning, Mary walks up to her husband and bashes the back of his head with the frozen leg of lamb , which the narrator notes is as effective as a steel club. Mary carries out her own sudden betrayal by killing her husband here.

Role Reversals. The noise brings Mary out of shock as she recognizes that her husband is dead.

Lamb to the slaughter

Unsure of the consequences for her baby, she resolves to cover up the crime. However, her resolution to survive suggests that her concern for her child exceeds her concern for herself and her marriage. To do so, Mary puts the murder weapon, the leg of lamb , into the oven and lets it cook.

She then washes her hands, fixes her appearance, and practices speaking to and smiling at an imaginary Sam the local grocer , trying to appear as normal as possible.

By cooking the leg of lamb for supper, Mary destroys the evidence of her crime. Unlike the murder, which she commits without fully realizing her actions, the cover-up is clearly premeditated.

She also refers to her husband by name for the first time in the story. Still crying, Mary tells them that she went out to the grocer and came back to find him dead. More policemen, a doctor, a photographer, and a fingerprint expert arrive, asking Mary questions but also treating her kindly.

Lamb to the Slaughter: Summary, Setting & Characters

One of the detectives goes out and confirms her story with Sam. Cleverly incorporating kernels of truth into her story, Mary is able to deceive the police, who fail to suspect her as the real culprit.

Mary refuses, and the policemen allow her to stay while they search for more evidence. Whereas Mary had put so much energy into pleasing her husband, only to be rejected, now it is Mary who is refusing the efforts of the policemen who attempt to comfort her.

Jack Noonan occasionally speaks to Mary , explaining how Patrick was killed. He says that the murder weapon was probably a heavy piece of metal, and they are still searching for the weapon, which is crucial to catching the murderer: Noonan reinforces this gender stereotype by assuming that the murderer is a man.

After nearly three hours of searching, the four remaining policemen have had no success finding the weapon. It is late, and they are now tired, frustrated, and hungry. Mary asks Sergeant Jack Noonan for a drink, and he complies, pouring her a glass of whiskey. The rest of the men are also persuaded to have a drink, and though they are uncomfortable, they try to console Mary.

Whereas during her marriage, Mary had to fetch drinks for her husband, now the policemen fetch drinks for her. Whereas Mary had attempted to provide emotional support for Patrick, with no success or reciprocation, now it is the policemen who attempt the same for her. Mary utilizes this new power by persuading the men to drink on the job, subtly undermining their credibility and objectivity.

Sergeant Noonan notices that the lamb is still in the oven and offers to turn it off for her.

Additional Resources

After some hesitation, the men agree and go into the kitchen to eat the lamb. Mary exercises her power by asking a favor of the men.

However, contrary to her claims, the lamb is not a reward for their friendship with Patrick, but rather a betrayal of both Patrick and their profession, leading to the ironic twist of the story. By eating the lamb, the men destroy the evidence of the murder. Cite This Page. MLA Chicago.

Lee, Sophia. Retrieved April 14, Copy to Clipboard. By telling her story, it does not occur to the police officers to suspect her.

On the contrary, she offers them a glas of whiskey and prepares the lamb for them. While the men are eating up the murder weapon, Mary Maloney starts to laugh sillily.

Dahl touches the taboo theme of commiting a murder here which is not typical for a short story. It occurred to me that the story better fits into the genre of crime fiction.

A criminal story always centres upon the investigation of a crime and a puzzle element that must be solved. Ironically, Mary Maloney, who is in fact the murderer, sits next to them and does not arouse any suspicion that she might be the culprit. Normally, the crime is mentioned at the beginning and the investigation brings every detail to light. In this case, the description of the crime committed is given before the investigation starts.

It is the worst crime which is described here. Murder is the cruelest crime one could imagine and if that was not enough Mary Maloney cold-blooded prepares herself an alibi. Roald Dahl describes in great detail how meticulously she arranges her story in order not to cast suspicion on her. For this, he uses the stream-of-consciousness technique which guarantees the reader the deepest insight into the mind of Mary Maloney.

There is no allusion or indication before. The short moment when she hits him is not as significant as the crime of betraying the policemen.

Lamb to the Slaughter - a Detective Story

Because of this,I can already say that Lamb to the slaughter is not a classical criminal story although it shows one more feature of a criminal story.Better not finish it. He says that the murder weapon was probably a heavy piece of metal, and they are still searching for the weapon, which is crucial to catching the murderer: I got a nice leg of lamb from the freezer. Copy to Clipboard.

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and Terms of Service. When he returns, his glass has even more whiskey than before.

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