Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl

Lamb to the Slaughter book cover
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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Examine the elements of the story that make it a black comedy. How does Dahl use irony to bring humor to the plot?

‘‘Lamb to the Slaughter’’ can be considered a revenge fantasy. Think of some other revenge fantasies you have read or seen in movies and on television shows. Write about how such stories can function as a catharsis. Think of a revenge fantasy you have had yourself and write it as a fictional story.

What percentage of murders are instances of domestic abuse? Does the unpremeditated nature of Mary’s crime make it seem less horrible than if it had been planned? Do you think a person like Mary could really kill someone so suddenly?

An old saying hold that ‘‘Revenge is a dish best served cold,’’ meaning that if you want to take vengeance, you should wait and plan carefully and not act impulsively against the person who has wronged you. If Mary had consciously decided to avenge herself on her husband for deserting her, and waited and planned, do you think she would have killed him? What else might she have done to pay him back for his treatment of her?