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Lamb To The Slaughter: Themes

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“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl is a short story about the murder of police detective Patrick Maloney by his wife Mary. Driven to homicide after her husband’s unexpected announcement that he’s leaving her and their unborn child, Mary quickly regains her senses after fatally killing him with the leg of lamb. This short story made me think about of trust base on people and betrayal.

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The main theme of this short story is deception. “She began to cry her heart out. It was easy. No acting necessary.” This quote shows Mary has begun her almost impeccable deception. I think this is really a shock to me, and it made me think about nowadays in China some older people being dishonest to others. I’m reminded of the time on the new says: “Good Chinese Young Man Been Blamed After Helping Fallen Elderly”, Elder people started using their age advantage to defraud young people who are willing to help, thus get a small benefit of compensation. Although the benefits make our lives more convenient, as we gain more self-profits, we gradually forgot the importance of trust. Nowadays, people in society are increasingly promoting third-party software to prevent scams, but they have lost the simplest communication between people. -Trust

Another important theme in this short story is Betrayal. “So, there it is. And I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you, but there simply wasn’t any other way. Of course, I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after. But there needn’t really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be very good for my job.” This quote shows Patrick has betrayal his wife Mary, and brings the story to the peak, when he tells her he’s leaving her, she doesn’t just feel betrayed; she feels stripped of her identity as a wife and a woman. We need to read this short story as a warning. This reminds me of the cause of the betrayal according to divorce. With less communication and not stable relationships, the relationships between couples have become much worse. Ten years ago, the divorce rate used to be none, but now with high technology used in our society, this is a luxury. Although we are still young we should do what we can to make a difference, and build awareness of these family and society issues.

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Lamb To The Slaughter: Themes. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Lamb To The Slaughter: Themes.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
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