Language and Gender in ‘Lamb to Slaughter’ – Roald Dahl

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Language and Gender in ‘Lamb to Slaughter’ – Roald Dahl

There is a variety of how men and women use language, which could range from their use of body language, tone, personality, and human relationships, emotions. Roald Dahl portrays this in the novel, Lamb to the Slaughter in which the relationship between men and women can be complicated and this is described between a husband and wife.

In Lamb to slaughter, the writer has intended to portray a tensional situation between Mrs. And Mr. Maloney, because Mr. Maloney has something different to do from his occasional routine, he is scared, tired and probably feels sympathy for his wife, according to his harsh decision of leaving her ‘And I know its kind of a bad time to be telling you, bet there simply wasn’t any other way. Of course ill give you money and see you’re looked after. But there needn’t really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be very good for my job’ His arrogance had probably angered Mrs. Maloney to killing her husband and he seemed very calm about the whole situation, therefore we can see that the emotions of a female would be higher than a males in this situation and we can clearly see that this was a way in which Dahl had conveyed attitudes to the gender roles.

There is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women and men. The use of male and female stereotypes have an effect on this situation in Lamb to Slaughter in which men were to be forward and direct their assertiveness to control the actions of others. This is shown when Mr. Maloney shows his supremacy through the use of imperatives towards his wife ‘Sit down! He said ‘just for a minute, sit down’ it wasn’t till then she began to get frightened’ ‘go on’ he said ‘sit down’ to portray his power and dominance over his wife, i.e. the female figure.

Mary Maloney is a victim of Patrick’s disrespect and verbal abuse. “For God’s Sake” and “Sit Down” were some of the disrespectful things and commands yelled at her.

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