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Like a lamb to the slaughter - Idioms by The Free Dictionary
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Are you sure you want to Yes No. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Marry Maloney had six month old child in her stomach, her mouth was soft, she was calmly waiting for her husband, Patrick Maloney to come home. She heard the car door slamming, the key turning in the lock so she immediately stopped what she was doing and kissed him as he came in the house.
She loved Patrick and made drinks for each of them. However, unlike other days, today Patrick acted gloomy. When Marry Maloney asked him if he wanted anything with full of love, he replied in short answers. Patrick was keep refusing to Marrys offer, and Marry became extremely worried. But there needn't really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn't be very good for my job. Marry was shocked. She said she will give him dinner and went down to the kitchen. She grabbed on to the first thing she saw, which was a leg of Lamb. She climbed up the stairs to where Patrick was.
Patrick was looking out the window, so Marry Maloney went behind her and swung the frozen leg of lamb. Patrick crashed down on the floor. As much as she loved Patrick, she admitted herself and thought about going to prison, but she remembered the six months old baby in her womb. She decided to make an alibi. She went to the grocery store, and acted all normal to Sam, the grocery man, as if nothing happened.
Log in here for access. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up. Joshua holds a master's degree in Latin and has taught a variety of Classical literature and language courses. The phrase 'like a lamb to the slaughter' actually has a long and distinguished history in biblical and English literature, and you might've even read it yourself somewhere. If so, you recognized that it's generally used to describe a situation into which a person blindly enters without any knowledge of the inherent danger.
The same could be said for certain folks in Roald Dahl's short story 'Lamb to the Slaughter. The story opens on Mary Maloney , who's waiting patiently but eagerly for her husband, a police officer, to get home from work. When he finally does arrive, Patrick Maloney silently takes the drink his wife has prepared for him, and even makes his own stronger second one.
like a lamb to the slaughter
It's Thursday, and the couple usually dines out on those evenings, but Mary recognizes Patrick may be too tired, so she offers to prepare dinner, despite her advanced pregnancy. Patrick seems agitated by his wife's insistence on being useful and asks her instead to listen to what he has to say. He proceeds to tell her, though he never states it explicitly, that he's planning on leaving her. In a total state of shock, Mary continues to go about making dinner, heedless to Patrick saying that he's going out.
Coming to the first piece of meat in the basement freezer, a leg of lamb, she takes it upstairs for dinner.
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She finds Patrick facing away from her in the den, and without a single thought, clubs him in the back of the head with the leg of lamb, killing him instantly. Suddenly realizing the severity of her crime, Mary quickly goes about covering it up. She puts the lamb in the oven and goes to the local grocer to buy vegetables to complete the dinner. After returning home and 'finding' her husband dead, she calls the police, who are also friends of the family. They arrive promptly and investigate. Tired and confused from their investigation, Mary pleads tearfully with the detectives to let her finish the dinner she was preparing.
Out of pity for the new widow, they concede. While enjoying the lamb, the men discuss the case, each of them convinced that the murder weapon, which has yet to be found, is 'probably right under their noses. In fact, she's the model s housewife. Dutiful even to a fault, she takes pleasure in providing her husband with a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere to come home to. She loves Patrick and his company and wants nothing more than to share a happy life together with him. However, when her unwavering and devoted service is thrown away for no apparent reason, something breaks in her brain.
With a child soon on the way, it would seem that Mary's life of wedded bliss is almost complete. But it's all been jeopardized by Patrick's sudden decision to end it.
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In total shock and denial, Mary is unable to make sense of this decision, and it would appear that she simply goes into survival mode. A pregnant widow would've had a much easier time in the '50s than a pregnant divorcee. Although she is dazed and in shock right up until she whacks Patrick on the head, as soon as the deed is done, she is remarkably clear and calculating.
As the wife of a detective, she knew what the punishment would be, so she hurries to cover her tracks, and does so quite successfully. Perhaps too pleased with herself, although some might find her actions justified, she even laughs when she overhears the detectives talking about their search for the weapon, which they happen to be presently consuming.
Patrick Maloney isn't alive for most of the story, so we don't learn too much about him personally. However, we can gather enough on his character by his sudden and unwarranted decision to leave his wife and unborn child. He appears to struggle with the choice and even seems too ashamed to look her directly in the eye when he tells her.
He also attempts to smooth the situation over by assuring Mary that he'll send her money and see that she's taken care of. Ultimately, though, Patrick is simply a selfish man worried only about his reputation on the force and is in no way concerned with Mary's emotional needs or unwavering faithfulness.
Jack Noonan and the other police investigators are colleagues of Patrick's and friends of the family, which severely impairs their judgment during their investigation.
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Given their fondness for Mary, they overlook several important issues, such as there being no sign of forced entry or the fact that she continues to cook supper immediately after her husband's death. The physical location for Dahl's short story could be just about any sleepy little American suburb, but the time frame is perhaps what's most important to the setting. America in the s was notoriously harsh on women, particularly those who were divorced.
Even today, certain social circles in the United States frown on the practice, and there have historically been huge stigmas placed on those, especially females, who've gone through such a separation. What's more, Mary is pregnant, which would make providing for herself and her child all the more difficult, especially if Patrick didn't follow through with his pledge to take care of her financially. Also, these investigators don't have access to all of the forensic techniques and technology that we might find in the field today, or on the television show CSI.
This, combined with their blind trust and sympathy for Mary, critically disables the detectives from finding the real culprit behind the murder. Roald Dahl's 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is a short story about the murder of police detective Patrick Maloney by his wife Mary. Driven to homicide after her husband's unexpected announcement that he's leaving her and their unborn child, Mary quickly regains her senses after fatally killing him with the leg of lamb.
She is able to cover her tracks and escape suspicion, because of her close relationship to Patrick's police colleagues, and the inefficiencies of s crime scene investigation.
The story's title is actually a double entendre , a word or phrase used in a way that conveys two meanings - playing on the surprise of Patrick's murder, as well as on the weapon used to perpetrate it. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study. Create your account. Already a member? Log In. Did you know… We have over college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1, colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree.
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