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The Use of Suspense and Plot in Lamb to The Slaughter, a Story by Roald Dahl

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The Use of Suspense and Plot in Lamb to The Slaughter, a Story by Roald Dahl essay
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How will Mary get away with murder? The author Roald Dahl uses a few literary elements to make this murder successful in his story. Suspense, and Plot. In the story Mary Maloney waits for her husband, Patrick Maloney, to come from work. Though, when Patrick comes home after work, something seems off. Patrick tells Mary that he wants a divorce. Mary is shocked and tells him that he can’t leave. But Patrick does not change his mind. Mary goes into the basement to grab a leg of lamb to cook for him anyways. When Mary gets back into the living room, she sees Patrick. Inadvertently, she hits him on the head and kills him with the leg of lamb. She calls the police and acts like someone else murdered him. The police were looking for the murder weapon while Mary was cooking the leg of lamb. By the end of the day, Mary ends up feeding the leg of lamb to the police.

The first literary element that Roald Dahl uses to make a successful short story is suspense. The use of suspense can be seen after Mary kills Patrick with the leg of lamb. Readers will then ask how Mary will get away with the murder and how she will hide the murder weapon. In this part of the story it is hard to predict what will happen next. The use of suspense will make the audience stay on their toes and get goosebumps.

The second literary element that Roald Dahl uses is a plot. The use of the plot keeps the story interesting. After Mary had killed her husband, she stuck the leg in the oven to cook it. When the detectives arrived at the house after Mary had called them the leg of lamb was still being cooked. Mary planned all of this after she had killed Patrick. Then she confuses the detectives by cooking the lamb and feeding it to them. The detectives don’t realize that the murder weapon is right under their noses. Mary is now getting away with killing Patrick, and she knows it. Mary has changed throughout the story. She used to be a quiet wife that doesn’t seem to be capable of murder. Now she is a wife capable of killing and getting away with it and tricking the police into eating the murder weapon.

Roald Dahl used two literary elements to make this short story successful. First is suspense to keep the audience on their toes. The second literary element that Roald Dahl used is a plot. The plot is used to plan out the short story which will intrigue readers.

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The Use of Suspense and Plot in Lamb to the Slaughter, a Story by Roald Dahl. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from
“The Use of Suspense and Plot in Lamb to the Slaughter, a Story by Roald Dahl.” GradesFixer, 26 Oct. 2018,
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