Lamb to the slaughter is a clever tale of a woman’s quick response to a devastating situation, in which she was unwillingly placed. Lamb to the slaughter proves that the weak have more power than one may think. It's a classic 'Mouse and the Lion' story. The weak seem pathetic, but prove very powerful in the end.
The short story begins in a very homey situation and Dahl emphasizes the great deal of love and willingness to cater to her husbands every need that Mary Maloney feels. Dahl portrays Mary Maloney as a typical ‘50’s housewife (although that very well may not be the era in which this short story was written); she waits for her husband with his drink prepared, and periodically glances at the clock for his arrival. Little did this six month pregnant wife know, her beloved spouse would be leaving her… So as Patrick Maloney walked through the door she did as any unsuspecting wife would do, and lie her sewing aside and greet him with a kiss, takes his coat and makes his drink. The couple sit for a while silently as Mary accepts that her husband prefers to rest in silence while he has his drink after a long day at work. Shortly after he declares that he has to tell her something, and that he hopes she will not blame him too much. At this point in the story, Dahl does not explain what it is that Patrick Maloney tells his then wife, but makes it very clear in his next paragraph that Patrick Maloney was leaving Mary. Mary then goes into shock and tries to persuade herself that she imagined the entire ordeal. She goes to retrieve something from the basement freezer and prepare dinner. She returns with a frozen leg of lamb to find Patrick standing by a window with his back to her, he hears her coming and tells her that she shouldn’t make dinner as he has decided to eat out. Dahl offers no lead up for what occurs next, Mary walks up to him and brings the leg of lamb down on Mr. Maloney “ as hard as she could” on the back of his head.