Lamb To The Slaughter By Roald Dahl Analysis

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The main idea I identified in Helen Fisher's TedTalk is that love is more than an emotion, it is an inner drive which can push people to do dangerous things. This idea is represented in the short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, through the character Mary Maloney.

The story focuses on Mary Maloney, the housewife of policeman Patrick Maloney. Her husband returns one evening and confesses (it is implied) that he had an affair. While in shock and disbelief, Mary finds a frozen lamb leg and murders him with a blow to the head. The rest of the story follows Mary as she tries to conceal her murder.

Helen Fisher describes romantic love as three characteristics. Craving or yearning to be together with your partner, being obsessed with your partner and being possessive of your partner. All of these characteristics are represented through Mary Maloney.

In the beginning of the story, Mary waits for Patrick to return home, “Now and again she (Mary) would glance up at the clock, but without anxiety, merely to please herself with the thought that each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come.” (Dahl, 31). Mary’s behaviour demonstrates her craving to be with her husband. Just the thought of him returning home was enough to make her happy. Being a housewife, she must've
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Helen mentioned this when speaking about the power of love, “around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love. They kill for love,” (5:54). Love is powerful and it is not something to be messed with. The realization that she was no longer loved and the inner drive to feel loved was what drove her to kill him. Perhaps if he had confessed something unrelated to love, knowing Mary's character traits, she most likely would have sympathized with him. However, because his confession was about his love for Mary, or lack thereof, it triggered something in her mind to murder

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