Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl

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What is a plot summary for "Lamb to the Slaughter"?

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The story opens with a description of Mary Maloney. She appears to be a contented housewife, waiting eagerly for her husband, Patrick, to come home from work. She is completely devoted to Patrick. So, it comes as no surprise that she is devastated when he returns home and informs her that he is leaving her. The reader does not know what Patrick's reasoning is. The reader is left with Mary's reaction of "puzzled horror." In shock, she goes to make dinner, returns with a frozen leg of lamb, and uses the lamb to bash her husband over the head, killing him.

At the beginning of the story, Mary appeared to very dependent upon her husband. It would not be an exaggeration to say she lived for him. But, after killing him, Mary shows great independence. It's as if a switch is pulled and she becomes another person. She immediately focuses on the problem and devises a strategy. She plays the part perfectly, gives herself an alibi, and brilliantly (albeit diabolically) persuades the police to eat the murder weapon. Indeed, it is the "perfect murder" as the previous post says. The beauty of this story is the ironic twist with Mary's character and the dark humor that concludes the story.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The best way to answer this question is to read the story.  If you haven't already, I encourage you to do so.  It isn't very long, and it's one of the most entertaining short stories out there.  I have provided a link to the text of the story, and to some more detailed analyses and summaries of it.  To read a summary of it without reading the story is to by seriously missing out.  If you are having problems with summarizing and HAVE read the story, keep in mind that a summary is a brief overview of the main events that occur in the story itself.

In a nutshell, Mary Maloney is a cop's wife, and 6 months pregnant.  She is happy in her marriage, and waiting for her...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 698 words.)

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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