Thursday, May 5, 2011

Analysis - Lamb to the Slaughter

Brief summary of story
This story is about how a distraught wife murdered her husband, who had wanted to divorce her, and how she ‘cleverly’ covered her tracks.
Plot

Introduction
We were introduced to a docile, pregnant wife, Mary Maloney, who was anticipating her husband’s return from work.
Rising action
Her husband returned home and refused any offers from her. He finally broke the news to her, informing her, his decision to divorce her.
Climax
Mary Maloney killed him with a leg of lamb.
Falling action
She covered her tracks, by putting the leg of lamb in the oven, by going to the grocery shop to get an alibi, and called the police. The police came to investigate.
Denouement
Mary Maloney offered the leg of lamb to the sergeants and they literally ate/destroyed the evidence/ murder weapon.
Setting
Place :
A warm and clean room, with drawn curtains, 2 table lamps alight, a sideboard and some chairs.
A cellar with a deep freeze where the leg of lamb was kept.
The grocery shop where Mary bought some potatoes, peas and a slice of cheese cake.
The kitchen, where the sergeants had the leg of lamb for supper.

Time:
Evening, 5.00 p.m. when Patrick returned home from work.
Before 6.00 p.m., when Mary reached the grocery shop.
Nearly 9.00 p.m. when Mary offered the sergeants the whiskey.

Symbols
The lamb, signifies Patrick, who naively thought he could divorce his wife without any repercussions and was slaughtered as a result.
The lamb may also symbolize Mary who is regarded as a timid and meek housewife before she murders her husband
Character
Mary Maloney, protagonist, Main character, a round character, a docile wife who turned into a cruel murderer and a manipulator who tried to cover her tracks.
Patrick Maloney, Antagonist, Main character, an irresponsible husband who wanted to divorce his pregnant wife who was already pregnant.
Sam, the grocer, a minor character.
Jack Noonan, a minor character, a police sergeant, who was negligent in carrying his duties, as he drank whiskey and had supper at the crime scene, an unsuspecting person.
Point of view
3rd Person, limited omniscient, the whole story was seen via Mary Maloney’s point of view.

Tone
Ironic- the lamb that was supposed to be served as supper to nourish Patrick was in the end, the weapon to be used to kill him.

Tragic- how a couple, who is expecting their first child, end up hurting each other.
Comical – how at the end, the sergeants who were supposed to capture the murderer, unknowingly cooperated with her to destroy the evidence by eating up the murder weapon.

Theme
We should not reject the love shown to us, as rejection can lead to anger and bitter retaliation. (Love and revenge)

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