This short-story written by Roald Dahl is about a woman – Mary Maloney – who murders her husband with a leg of lamb. It’s really interesting to read, since it shows us, how a crucial decision in a situation like this can lead to spontaneous life altering decisions. This story also portrays how the idea of a so called ‘nuclear-family’ (the perfect family) can affect a person’s mind – the whole role-playing game between the husband and wife. This essay will interpret and discuss a characterisation of Mary and her husband Patrick, as well as a description of the setting, the title, and lastly, an attempt to put it into perspective to other crime-stories we’ve read. Good intro!
As a wife, Mary Maloney is extremely kind, devoted and thoughtful. She is also an expectant mother. Her main problem though is being obsessed by the importance of acquiring the ‘nuclear-family’. The nuclear-family is essential to this story; the whole family is really just a ‘dollhouse’, where nothing really is what it seems like. Everybody is acting to achieve certain social norms; this is literally being told by Patrick Maloney as well on page 115: “But there needn’t really be any fuss. It wouldn’t be very good for my job”. All that matters is the way other people see them as a family. Mary works as the stereotype of the 1960’ies, where it’s all about soothing the husband – making him feel comfortable at home to forward his career. In this story, Mary is being portrayed in a way that deteriorates the basic values of women; she is described almost as a servant. “She sets down her sewing… took his coat and hung it in the closet” – this quote tells us two things; one, that women stay at home the main part of the day, and two, she is ‘always there to serve’ (stereotype). Mary might also seem a bit psychotic/deranged in this story – besides murdering her husband and afterwards acting like nothing happened, the very intriguing and indeed noticeable ‘giggle’ at the end of the story (page 121...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document