The first two paragraphs of "Lamb to the Slaughter" indicate serenity and calm. The room where Mrs. Maloney is waiting for her husband is described as "warm and clean," and there are two glasses waiting to be filled with drinks when Mr. Maloney gets home from work. This scene would also suggest normalcy and routine, as if Mrs. Maloney had done this a thousand times in their marriage.
However, this calmness would also suggest foreshadowing of what is to come. The scene is too calm, and Mrs. Maloney is said to glance at the clock "without anxiety, merely to please herself with the thought that each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come." She seems very much vested in this arrangement and marriage, so the reader must already doubt that when he husband arrives, he will not bear good news.