Ali Sobers December 9, 2010 Block 3 Lamb to the Slaughter There is more then what meets the eye, and not everyone is what they depict themselves as. In Ronald Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter,” Mary Maloney, the wife of Patrick Maloney, accidentally kills her husband. Throughout the course of Dahl’s short story, Mary Maloney is portrayed as an innocent victim and a methodical criminal.
In the beginning, Mary Maloney is perceived as an innocent victim. Mary Maloney is a loving and devoted wife whose husband unexpectedly leaves her.
Everyday she anxiously awaits her husbands arrival home from work, “glanc[ing] up at the clock” every few minutes “merely to please herself” in anticipation of him coming home (317). Because Mary is so committed to and consumed by her marriage, she is shocked and devastated when her husband decimated their marriage. Also, Mary Maloney is six months pregnant. Mary Maloney’s skin is very smooth and has a sleek quality “for this is her sixth month with child” (317). Mary is six months pregnant, when her husband tells her he is leaving, we feel sympathetic toward her because she thought she was going to have a wonderful married life.
Finally, Mary Maloney mistakenly kills her husband. Mary Maloney is shocked and “feeling cold” when she sees her husband lying on the ground so innocent and she is still holding the preposterous “piece of meat” (320). Since Mary is so heartbroken, she could not control herself and accidentally kills her husband with a lamb leg. In the end, Mary Maloney has been represented as a methodical criminal. Mary Maloney cleverly gets rid of the murder weapon, by cooking it. She takes the weapon, the lamb leg, and “place[s] it in a pan” then she “turn[s] the oven on high” and tosses it inside (320).
Since Mary did not want to get caught, she destroys the weapon by heating up the oven to cook it for dinner. Then, Mary makes up an alibi to cover up the murder. She figures out a way to “t [ell] her story about going to the grocer” and she persuades the police on her side (322). Mary, being very clever, puts together a scenario that helps covers up the crime she committed. Finally, Mary Maloney laughed and giggled. The detectives were contemplating on what the weapon is and hey were agreeing that “it is under their very own noses” and when Mary Maloney hears them she “beg [ins] to giggle” (324). Mary Maloney has sneakily tricked the policemen to eat the murder weapon and as they do so, she is proud to have accomplished her job. In The Lamb of the Slaughter, Mary Maloney is revealed as blameless and a meticulous criminal. In the end, she is determined to cover up her unintentional mistake and pretends like nothing has happened. Though times may be hard, and depressing, you should always think before you hurt somone.