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What literary device is presented by the outcome of this story? Why is this story an...

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tiket | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 4, 2007 at 10:03 AM via web

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What literary device is presented by the outcome of this story? Why is this story an example of this literary device?

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brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted February 5, 2007 at 2:34 AM (Answer #1)

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Black humor is the literary device used in Lamb to the Slaughter. Black humor is the use of the grotesque, morbid, or absurd for darkly comic purposes.

The ultimate example of black humor in "Lamb to the Slaughter" is at the end of the story when the policemen and detectives are sitting around the Maloney kitchen table, speculating about the murder weapon while they unwittingly devour it.

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brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted July 10, 2007 at 7:19 AM (Answer #2)

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I agree that black humor is ultimately used in the end of "Lamb to the Slaughter"; however, I also believe that it is a perfect example of dramatic irony, as well, because the audience is aware of what is going on as the officers eat the lamb.  The characters are not aware, however, that they are eating the murder weapon.  Just a thought.

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revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 10, 2009 at 1:10 AM (Answer #3)

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Yeah, I also agree that black humor is the main theme of the story "Lamb to the Slaughter". This book typically represents Ronald Dahl dark and dry sense of humor, and the outcome of the story typically expressed sense of innocence of the naive person being led to some sort of imminent danger.

First, the slaughter of the lamb is actually a real killing, not some metaphorical object representing something else. Next, the readers will all know that the lamb was not the sacrifice but the "lamb" was actually the main instrument of the killing that had happen that Mary had used to kill her husband. The "lambs are actually the police officers, that is led to the "slaughter", which is actually the scene of the crime and they were led to the dining room to consume the leg of the lamb, the "evidence", the murder weapon, which the unknowingly devour it. A bit of comic relief can be found at the ending of the book as one of the police officers make a claim that any evidence, the "murder tool" could be "right under our very noses", which they are consuming it right now at that moment.

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