What is Mary's conflict in "Lamb to the Slaughter"?

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kiwi's profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Mary's conflict is to protect her unborn child no matter what. She is surprised at her ability to despatch her husband so swiftly, but it is the though of the child within her which focuses her attention on covering up the crime. She first begins to consider the future for them both-

It was extraordinary, now, how clear her mind became all of a sudden.  She began thinking very fast.  As the wife of a detective, she knew quite well what the penalty would be.  That was fine.  It made no difference to her.  In fact, it would be a relief.  On the other hand, what about the child?  What were the laws about murderers with unborn children?  Did they kill then both-mother and child?  Or did they wait until the tenth month?  What did they do?

Mary Maloney didn’t know.  And she certainly wasn’t prepared to take a chance.

It is this primitive urge to protect which enables placid, devoted Mary Maloney to ensure that her husband's murder becomes the perfect crime.

shilppatel97's profile pic

shilppatel97 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

the conflict is mary vs herself because she was trying to protect herself and her child by fighting with herself for the right decision.

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