Deception and Dark Twists: The Narrative 'Lamb to The Slaughter'

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 669 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 669|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

The narrative 'Lamb to the Slaughter' begins with a pretty traditional beginning, giving the reader the impression of a quite average household. The story's narrator begins by describing the home's cozy environment: 'The room was warm and clean'. The narrator then goes on to state that Mary Maloney is impatiently awaiting her husband's return from work. Mr. Maloney (Mary Maloney's husband) arrives after a while, and Mary Maloney makes a drink for herself and 'A strongish one for him, a weak one for herself', Mr. Maloney says. The narrator goes on to describe Mary Maloney's feelings for Mr. Maloney, adding, 'She liked to luxuriate in the company of this person'. As the story develops, Mary Maloney continues to ask Mr. Maloney if he wants something to eat, stating, 'I'll bring you some cheese and crackers,' only to be answered with a chilly response, 'No!' you could begin to question if Mary Maloney is madly in love with Mr. Maloney at this point.

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Later, Mr. Maloney urges Mary Maloney to sit and continues chatting to her for 5 minutes before concluding, 'So there it is.......' You're probably wondering what Mr. Maloney said to Mary Maloney at this point. 'I'll bring supper', Mary Maloney responds after a little pause. The narrator says that Mary Maloney was surprised and nauseous as she walked to the kitchen, and that everything she did felt mechanical, as if she wasn't in command. Mary Maloney appeared to be in denial at the moment. When she goes into the freezer, she picks the first item that comes to hand, a leg of lamb, and walks into the living room, where she finds her husband, who exclaims, 'For God's sake,....don't make any supper for me'. Mary Maloney then knocks the leg of lamb over Mr. Maloney's head, knocking him to the ground.

'The sounds of the accident helped pull Mary Maloney out of her astonishment', the narrator adds. After a time, the narrator reveals that Mary Maloney attempts to think of a way out very quickly, and he also mentions that Mary Maloney's husband is a detective himself. Then she goes to the local grocery shop to grab some food and utilize her alibi. When she gets home, she pretends to have discovered her husband's dead and contacts the cops.

As the hunt continues, Mary Maloney persuades a number of the cops, a couple of whom she knows by name, to join her for a drink. Later, one of the policemen in the kitchen discovers the leg of lamb in the oven and informs Mary Maloney, who responds, 'Oh dear me, there it is, I'd better turn it off for you hadn't I', and with that she walks into the kitchen, pulls out the lamb, and presents it to the cops who are hesitant to eat. Mary Maloney giggled in the other room while the officers ate.

Throughout the story, Mary demonstrates her ability to adapt, think quickly, and deceive others. Her actions and interactions with the police officers reveal her cunning nature and her capability to maintain an appearance of innocence. The twist of having Mr. Maloney as a detective adds an additional layer of complexity to the narrative, highlighting the lengths Mary goes to in order to evade suspicion.


In conclusion, the narrative 'Lamb to the Slaughter' takes readers on a gripping journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. It begins with the portrayal of an ordinary household, setting a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. However, as the story progresses, the true nature of Mary Maloney and her relationship with her husband, Mr. Maloney, become increasingly apparent.

Mary's impulsive act of violence, fueled by shock and betrayal, challenges our perception of her character and sympathy. Her decision to kill her husband without thinking logically showcases the depths of her unsympathetic nature. Furthermore, Mary's manipulative behavior becomes evident as she tries to dispose of the murder weapon by offering it to the detectives investigating the crime.

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Reference List

  • Dahl, R. (1953). Lamb to the Slaughter. In The Complete Short Stories of Roald Dahl (pp. 96-105). Penguin.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Deception and Dark Twists: the Narrative ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“Deception and Dark Twists: the Narrative ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’.” GradesFixer, 14 Aug. 2023,
Deception and Dark Twists: the Narrative ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Dec. 2023].
Deception and Dark Twists: the Narrative ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 14 [cited 2023 Dec 3]. Available from:
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