SYMBOLYSM: THEME - BETRAYAL
A dagger-pierced heart is usually associated with the Catholic Sacred Heart of Mary. It is known to represent the grieving mother of Christ, who is also often called the Lady of Sorrows. However, the heart also migrated into a “darker” side; a modern day symbol of vengeance and cruelty. But the real power of the image of a dagger through the heart is a combination of both, each known in their individual rights. The heart is seen as the seat of emotions, the core of every person, as well as love and passion. The dagger has long represented a stealthy weapon of choice, which is easily concealed and quiet. Roald Dahl’s, “Lamb to the Slaughter” tells us of one obvious betrayal: Patrick Maloney's decision to leave his pregnant wife. This violation of the marriage-vows is obviously not the only betrayal in the story. If you look deeper you see that Mary's killing of her husband is definitely the ultimate betrayal. Her strategically planned alibi and convincing lies all add up and go under the category of betrayal. Mary and Patrick Maloney are equally guilty of betrayal, as Patrick emotionally kills his wife, while Mary physically kills her husband. Both parties have hearts full of years’ worth of emotions, and both hearts have been stealthily and quietly killed.
SYMBOLISM: THEME - IDENTITY
The fingerprint is an impression on the surface of a person’s fingertip and is used for identifying individuals from the unique pattern of spirals and lines. Detectives, much like the ones in the chosen short story, use these prints to identify those that have taken part in a crime scene. It’s made clear through Dahl’s description of the Maloney house that Mary has committedly taken on the model of the perfect middle class wife. Ms. Maloney is a young mid-twentieth-century housewife, keeping a tidy home and catering to her husband. The text states that she’s found pouring drinks when Mr. Maloney finishes his day at work and caters to his every...
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