Literary Analysis Roald Dahl's Lamb to the Slaughter

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 906 Pages: 4
  • Published: 16 April 2021
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Statistically, a little less than half of all marriages work out within the United States alone, whether that may be because of financial issues , jobs as well as many other possibilities. In the short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, Mary Maloney gets betrayed by her husband who goes by the name of Patrick. Although the author does not give a detailed explanation of what Patrick had said during his serious talk with Mary, he leaves the readers to assume that Mary did not like what he had to say and felt betrayed. The rejection from her husband led Mary’s emotions to persuade her to kill her now former husband. Her rage overwhelmed her to the point where the voices inside of her head convinced her to do an awful thing. In the novel “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, he proves that betrayal can lead to immoral choices through a loved one's actions or words and the relationship that had been built with a loved one.

Betrayal can lead to the emotional and physical breakdown of an individual, especially through their actions and words. Mary was just waiting patiently for her hardworking husband to return home from work for supper. Little did she know he had other plans, when he had gotten home he had no desire at all to eat supper with Mary. He then had her sit down and told her something she had no desire to hear. The author states, “‘And I know it's kind of a bad time to be telling you, but there simply was no other way. Of course I'll give you money and see you’re looked after”’ (Dahl 2).  The words Patrick had said came to a complete shock to Mary. She tried to convince herself that she was in a fantasy away from reality, but when she opened her eyes, Patrick was still in front of her with his head to the floor. The actions and words that Patrick had said to Mary was too devastating for Mary to comprehend. The voices in her head filled with not only sorrow, but rage. She then brought herself up to her feet and insisted again on making Patrick dinner. The author claims, “‘For God's sake’ he said, hearing her, but not turning around. ‘Don’t make supper for me. I’m going out’” (Dahl 3).  Patrick being frustrated at Mary only made Mary's emotions stronger.  Although Patrick had betrayed Mary, she still offered to make him supper, but being rejected another time just made her angrier. So angry to the point she felt the need to punish him just how he had punished her. The decision she made was revenge, it was her payback to her husband for betraying her for his job. It was revenge for leaving her pregnant with a child who would have no father figure around.  Her actions were uncalled for but to Mary, it was only right for Patrick to be punished too. The emotions overthrew her reality and destroyed her relationship with someone she once loved the most through her own actions.

Mary and Patrick had a bond so strong that they trusted each other enough to have a child. The relationship they had was shattered  when Patrick told Mary he wanted to leave.  Mary had not expected this and was heartbroken and furious. The child she carried would have a father who abandoned him/her.  Even after Mary had killed Patrick, when she returned home from the grocery store she was still devastated to see Patrick laying on the floor. The author states, “All the old love and longing for him welled up inside her, and she ran over to him, knelt down beside and began to cry her heart out. It was easy. No acting necessary.” (Dahl 4). Still Mary was shocked seeing Patrick lay motionless on the ground. Their past relationship was now gone for good. There was no hope at all to regain what they once had. Her child she carried was now all she had left.  The guilt of killing her husband would now be with her forever.  The pain she felt in that moment was just the beginning.  Mary realizes that Patrick being dead would not fix anything, she still felt pain. Once she had picked herself up from off of the floor, she called the police. When they arrived, they had no idea who would have done such a thing.The author says, “Mary Maloney began to giggle” (Dahl 7). Now Mary began to take pleasure instead of guilt. She buried the guilt inside of her. The joy would not last long for the guilt inside of her would come out later in life. The relationship between Mary and Patrick was once too strong and Mary will realize that someday in the future. She will regret having done such an awful thing and will want Patrick in her life again, but it would be too late. She cannot forget the decisions she had made no matter how much she may try. The guilt will always be there.

From a characters actions and words through the character's relationships with each other the betrayal of a character can override another character's emotions causing them to make a decision that they will regret in the near future.  Mary had punished Patrick for revenge. The two punishments were not even comparable. Patrick making the decision to leave her all alone to raise their child made Mary angry, at this moment Mary had killed her husband due to his rejection. The bond they once had could never be rebuilt due to Mary’s immoral decision and the actions and words of Mary and Patrick would never be forgiven. Overall, betrayal can make an individual do awful things which can lead to unthinkable consequences.

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