What news does Patrick have for Mary and how does she react at first in "Lamb to the Slaughter"?

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Although the narrator does not explicitly state that Patrick has announced that he is leaving Mary, his pregnant wife, the words "of course, I'll give you money and see that you're taken care of" make clear his intention. He comments that it would make trouble for him in his job as a policeman if he abandons her. He acknowledges that "it's a tough time to be telling[her] this" without making specific reference to her pregnancy.

Mary's initial reaction could be described as denial; in fact, the narrator observes that "her first instinct was not to believe any of it." It is the epitome of a self-defensive reaction. She instantly decides to act as if she has not heard him so that she can convince herself that "she'd imagined the whole thing." Her default behavior is to go to the kitchen as if it were any other night. Mary does not even register that she is crossing into the kitchen and beginning her preparations for dinner until she unthinkingly reaches into the freezer and finds a frozen...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 865 words.)

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