What are Patrick Maloney's personality traits in "Lamb to the Slaughter"?  

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question is tougher than it first appears, because Patrick Maloney is barely in the story. Well, he's in the story the entire time. He just isn't alive for much of the story.  

I would pick cold and selfish as the two leading character traits to describe Patrick. The reason I think that Patrick has both of those character traits is because he bluntly tells Mary that he is leaving her or divorcing her. He knows that she loves him dearly. He knows that she is pregnant. He even admits that his news is bad timing.  

"And I know it's a tough time to be telling you this, but there simply wasn't any other way."

Despite knowing all of that information, he still is willing to just walk away from Mary and his life. I can only imagine that his reasons are self-serving. Leaving your pregnant wife for selfish reasons is the definition of cold.

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Lamb to the Slaughter

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