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Theme of lamb to the slaughter

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The short story I have chosen is lamb to the slaughter by Roald Dahl. I have chosen this short story because I like crime and mystery stories. There are many themes in lamb to the slaughter but the two that have caught my attention are “what goes around comes around” and “two are better than one”. These themes come up more than once in the story and in my opinion are very important to the moral or lesson of the story. The idea of “what goes around comes around, comes around” popped into my head when I was reading Roald Dahl’s short story because at the beginning of the story Mary Maloney the protagonist is waiting for her husband to come home from work.

He is late so she keeps waiting innocently not expecting anything to happen but when Patrick finally gets home he tells Mary horrible news that I think was that he was leaving her because he says “And I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you, bet there simply wasn’t any other way. Of course I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after”. He says this like he isn’t going to be around anymore. He betrays Mary when she least expects it. Not that she would expect it but she is pregnant now so she is even more surprised .So while she is in shock she goes down stairs to get the leg of lamb from the freezer and when she gets back up stairs, there he is with his back turned to her and she betrays him just as he did to her when she least expects it. Also in his time of need because he says “But there needn’t really be any fuss” because it would be bad for his job.

The other theme I thought of when reading the story lamb to the slaughter is “two is better than one”. I think this statement is true because Mary kills Patrick with a leg of lamb. Lamb are known as innocent weak creatures and women in most cases are weaker than men but when these two things come together they can defeat something stronger .Patrick was stronger than both Mary and the leg of lamb yet when they worked together they killed Patrick easily. This theme also comes up again possibly as one of the reasons why Mary kills Patrick .Mary was pregnant and I think when she killed Patrick she was thinking ahead for the baby. She was thinking that two parents are better than one. She was mad at Patrick for not realizing that he did not only hurt Mary’s feelings but he was also hurting the future of the baby.

In conclusion the two themes that stood out to me were “what goes around comes around” and two are better than one. Without these themes I think that this short story by Roald Dahl loses its meaning and I think this was the central idea that Dahl was trying to convey to us readers.

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