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Critical Evaluation - Lamb to the Slaughter

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A tale of the unexpected is Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl. The story has a twist in the tale ending in which a loving wife gruesomely murders her husband. Mr Patrick Maloney, a senior in the police force 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, to a state that she kills her husband, with a frozen leg of lamb. In the end she gets away with it, unwittingly the police then destroy the evidence by eating the cooked lamb.

Mrs. Maloney is your normal housewife, she sits at home in suspense waiting for her prized husband to return home from work. Her relationship with her husband Patrick is almost as a sunbather feels the sun. This is shown in the opening part of the story when Patrick returns home from work. Mary has his usual drink set out for him and when he comes in she is just content to sit in silence, his presence gives her a glow. Throughout the opening part of the story Mary will do anything that Patrick says, showing that she has a great love for him and would never want to disappoint him. At six months pregnant she is the one that should be resting but instead she is jumping around just to try and please her husband.

At the start of the novel, Mary seems very innocent, but her whole personality changes when she kills Patrick. At the start she seems happy, loving, caring, friendly and very dependent on Patrick. After Patrick is murdered Mary's character completely changes. She becomes a very devious, unremorseful and independent person. The author creates this change in character to try and show that even if a person seems weak and dependent, they can in fact be internally strong.

Mr Maloney is a senior police officer. The first impressions of him are now very selfish and ungrateful he is to his wife. He doesn't treat his wife very well and doesn't appreciate all she does for him. His only answer to his wife would be "No" and he didn't seem to have much time for her. Patrick is a very independent and reserved character, he has no dependency on Mary. Until his death he is a very cold and irritable person and it doesn't make you feel very sorry for him when he dies. As his wife is six months pregnant, he should be helping her not the opposite and the news he is leaving her now gives him no sympathy from



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