What is the climax in "Lamb to the Slaughter" and is it part of the plot?

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The plot of a story is made up of the exposition, rising action, falling action, and resolution. The climax is a key part to the plot because it indicates the highest point of action in the story including the highest point of emotional response from the characters.

In Lamb to Slaughterthe climax is upon the reader almost right at the beginning of the story when Mary Maloney the six months pregnant wife of Patrick the policeman murders her husband with a frozen leg of lamb. She had just been told that he is leaving her, he no longer loves her. She is in such shock over what he has just told her that she does not respond to what he says, instead she asks what he would like for dinner. He tries to tell her again to listen, but she descends the stairs to the freezer and retrieves the leg of lamb. When she ascends the stairs he tells her not to bother, he is going out. While his back is turned she smashes his head in with the frozen meat, still in shock. After she sees what she has done her height of emotional response comes over her and she begins to panic. This is the highest point of action in the story, the conflict is at its height and Mary's emotions are at their height. Everything that happens after the murder are the falling action and resolution to the conflict that Mary has murdered her husband that was going to leave her while she was six months pregnant.

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Lamb to the Slaughter

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