Mary Maloney is a complex character. Explore the way in which Dahl introduces and develops her.
The story is called ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, which is part of a collection of short stories called ‘The Tales of the Unexpected’, written by Roald Dahl. These stories are grotesque and show the perverse nature of human beings. These stories all have a twist which is unexpected hence the name ‘Tales of the Unexpected’.
The story begins with a tranquil atmosphere creating a very domestic scene. Mrs Maloney is a stereotypical housewife as she is: “waiting for her husband to come in from work”. Also, she is “sewing”. This is her favourite time of the day as it described as being “blissfull”. This shows she is very normal and is a good role model of a house-wife. This gets the reader thinking she is very typical and couldn’t do anything serious. Dahl is trying to fool the reader so that they get shocked when they find out she kills her husband. Mrs Maloney is very feminine. Her skin “acquired a wonderful translucent quality” and her “mouth was soft” and her eyes looked even larger and darker “with their new placid look”. This quotation shows that Mrs Maloney shows no signs of becoming a murderer. Especially not, when it was her “sixth month with child”.
Mrs Maloney idolises her husband. She has a very unhealthy addiction for him. She is very dependent and subservient on him. “She loved to luxuriate in front of this man, and to feel almost as a sunbather feels the sun-that warm male glow that came out of him when they were alone together”. This quotation shows a simile which describes in detail Mary’s feelings for her husband. It’s as if she is absorbing all the love, for her as she can, from her husband like a sunbather absorbs the sun’s warmth.
Mary begins to feel frightened. As her husband, behaves differently than normal: “He did an unusual thing. He lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow”. Mrs Maloney is panicked and unnerved by this, as it is not a...