Character Analysis of Mary Maloney "Lamb to the Slaughter"

Topics: Fiction, Short story, The New Yorker Pages: 2 (645 words) Published: May 28, 2013
Characterization is an important component in short story writing. In the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter" written by Roald Dahl, we are introduced to Mary Maloney, a pregnant housewife who recently found out that her husband is going to leave her. Mary develops into a very complex character as the events of the short story unfold. Mary is a typical housewife, waiting on her husband hand and foot. She loves him dearly, but as the short story unfolds, we see that he does not share the same feelings. Mary, unable to handle the rejection, lashes out and kills her husband. We then see Mary’s character transform before our eyes and the once loving, dutiful housewife becomes a very devious, manipulative and cold hearted character. She manages to fool everyone maybe even herself. As the story unfolds, we see Many as a very cold hearted person as she kills her husband in the blink of an eye. After her husband has told her he plans to leave her and refuses to let her cook supper for him, Mary strikes out and hits him with a leg of lamb that she had planned to cook for supper. "At that point, Many Maloney simply walks up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head" (Dahl, p.13). Mary acts instinctively and hits her husband, stopping him from leaving her permanently. Mary is definitely shows the cold hearted aspect of her character. Mary is also a very devious person in that she not only kills her husband in cold blood, but she then precedes to create an alibi for herself. She practices her speech in the mirror, and then goes to the grocery store where she is sure the grocer will remember her as a calm, loving wife. "She sat down before the mirror, tidied her hair, touched up her lips and face. She tried a smile. It came out rather peculiar. She tried again" (Dahl, p. 14). Mary was now thinking very clearly in that she knew she needed to cover her tracks. These...
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