Lamb to the Slaughter

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  • "For her, this was always a blissful time of day. She knew he didn’t want to speak much until the first drink was finished, and she, on her side, was content to sit quietly, enjoying his company after the long hours alone in the house. She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel – almost as a sunbather feels the sun – that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together."
  • Characterization
  • Speech
  • “Jack,” she said, the next time Sergeant Noonan went by. “Would you mind giving me a drink?” “Sure I’ll give you a drink. You mean this whiskey?” “Yes please. But just a small one. It might make me feel better.” He handed her the glass. “Why don’t you have one yourself,” she said. “You must be awfully tired. Please do. You’ve been very good to me.” “Well,” he answered. “It’s not strictly allowed, but I might take just a drop to keep me going.”
  • Thoughts
  • “Please,” she begged. “Please eat it. Personally I couldn’t touch a thing, certainly not what’s been in the house when he was here. But it’s all right for you. It’d be a favor to me if you’d eat it up.Then you can go on with your work again afterwards.”
  • Mary is a normal housewife who takes care of her husband, and she enjoys being around him until her wants to leave her. Her character makes you surprised when she strikes him in the back of the head with a leg of lamb and kills him.
  • Effects on others
  • Mary can be very convincing and manipulative. This works because of the fake attitude and story she puts on after her husbands death. More evidence of this is when she has them drink some whiskey, open the oven, and eat the lamb, AKA the murder weapon.
  • Actions
  • This again proves how manipulative Mary Maloney is. She is seen to be the innocent, perfect housewife because of the time period she lives in, but she is really the one who murdered her husband. She also has a good alibi, one of the ingredients to a perfect murder.
  • Looks
  • Mary was able to convince the men to eat the lamb because she was a poor, seemingly innocent victim. Now, because she convinced the men to eat the lamb, one of the most important steps in a perfect murder, getting rid of the weapon.
  • There was a good deal of hesitating among the four policemen, but they were clearly hungry, and in the end they were persuaded to go into the kitchen and help themselves. The woman stayed where she was, listening to them speaking among themselves, their voices thick and sloppy because their mouths were full of meat.
  • At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head. She might just as well have hit him with a steel club.
  • Mary was so shocked by her husbands confession that she took a leg of lamb and killed him. Somehow she stays mostly calm throughout the whole murder, not being able to snap out of her trance until after she killed her husband.
  • The drop of the head as she bent over her sewing was curiously tranquil. Her skin – for this was her sixth month with child – had acquired a wonderful translucent quality, the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look, seemed larger darker than before. 
  • Mary, from this quote, looks like a normal housewife. She's pretty and she has an unborn child. From this, it's pretty obvious that from her, no one would suspect a thing.
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