Roald Dahl Short Fiction Analysis
In stories ranging from the macabre to the hilarious, Roald Dahl enriched the modern gothic tale through the indirection and subtlety of a narrative method loaded with surprises for the unsuspecting reader. His most famous works include “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “Royal Jelly,” “Man from the South,” “The Landlady,” and “Neck.” In situations which include both domestic life and high adventure, Dahl creates suspense and humor of a highly sophisticated nature. Beyond the simple surface of the stories lie the psychological complexities that fascinate his readers. In many of the stories, for example, a hidden sexual theme controls the violence of the plot. Jealousy, hatred, lust, and greed dominate the characters of Dahl’s stories.
“Lamb to the Slaughter”
In “Lamb to the Slaughter,” a woman murders her husband and succeeds in serving the murder weapon, a large leg of lamb (deadly when frozen, delicious when cooked), to the police officers who investigate his death. An ironic tour de force, the story is typical of Dahl’s ability to develop an effect both chilling and wryly humorous. The story begins as Mrs. Maloney, a highly domestic, apparently devoted wife, awaits her husband’s arrival home. His drink is prepared for him, but no dinner is waiting because on Thursdays they always dine out. Six months pregnant, Mrs. Maloney is especially eager to have company in the house since she now remains at home all day....
(The entire section is 2792 words.)
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