Mary Maloney Analysis (Lamb to the Slaughter Test)

Mary Maloney Analysis (Lamb to the Slaughter Test)

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  • "She loved him for the way he sat loosely in a chair, for the way he came in a door, or moved slowly across the room with long strides. She loved the intent, far look in his eyes when they rested in her, the funny shape of the mouth, and especially the way he remained silent about his tiredness, sitting still with himself until the whiskey had taken some of it away. (Dahl Paragraph Eight)."
  • Relationship with Her Husband, Patrick.
  • Mary's Reaction and Behavior.
  • Mary's Actions
  •  In "Lamb to the Slaughter", Mary Maloney is very affectionate towards her husband, though in multiple instances, he is proven not to feel the same way. Mary Maloney admires a loves everything about her husband, simply in the way he talks, sits, walks, etc. Her husband has proven his dislike for her in many ways that she is oblivious to. Patrick never spoke much to her, nor wanted to be near her, but Mrs. Maloney persisted in loving him all the same. The fact that Mary is blinded by her love for him, in the way that she cannot see that he is not in love with her, proves a lot about her character. She is dependent on him as a person, and he is literally her everything. With a child on the way, Mary could not be in a happier state of mind, unlike Patrick. The fact that her love for Patrick is this strong, proves the lengths she will go to for this love.
  • Thoughts
  • "When she walked across the room she couldn’t feel her feet touching the floor. She couldn’t feel anything at all – except a slight nausea and a desire to vomit. Everything was automatic now  – down the steps to the cellar, the light switch, the deep freeze, the hand inside the cabinet taking hold of the first object it met. (Dahl Paragraph Forty-One)."
  • After being told by her husband that he is leaving her, it is almost as if she is being slapped in the face. The man whom she loves ever so dearly and cares about oh so much is leaving her for another woman, while she is pregnant with their child, and is the happiest she can be. A shock like this can do wonders to a person, and Mary begins to act on her own accord, not being aware of her actions. She is simply following routine in the state of shock that she is in, and attempting to carry on as if nothing had happened. In a moment like this, all she can give herself is false security, pummeling herself straight into a pit of denial.. When being in such a shocked, unaware, confused, and utterly horrified state such as this, a person can do many things never thought to be done before.Her life has pretty much vanished before her eyes, and all she is capable of doing is pretending as if nothing ever happened, and continuing on with what she usually does. She truly loves this man, and him bluntly telling her that the feelings aren't nearly mutual is a lot of news to take in. At this point anything Mary does will have been done subconsciously, as a person in this much shock is barely aware of what they are doing. 
  • Speech
  • Mary Maloney, in all of her surprise, shock, and subconscious anger went to the lengths of killing her husband because he was leaving her. There could've been the mentality in her mind that if he was taking her life away from her (as Patrick was pretty much her life), she could take his life away from him, and she physically did so. Though being in a state of shock at the time of the murder, and only snapping out of it afterwards, Mary Maloney doesn't seem to regret anything, or immediately mourn over him. She rather continues on in her life, and prepares herself to be in public and not to seem suspicious of anything, and is oddly calm for someone who just murdered a former loved one. This can mean that Mary Maloney doesn't regret anything, and that she works on impulse a lot, as many people do act before they completely think about their actions. Though Mary was in a state of shock at the time of killing her former lover, when she snapped out of the shock, she did not seem to regret anything, maybe being a point of if she really loved her husband all that much, or if she simply didn't mind having him be dead in front of her. She might've rathered he be dead without her, as she would probably feel if Patrick wasn't in her life. The text shows that through in act of impulse in killing her husband, afterwards she simply accepts the fact that she just killed her husband, and moves on. This is how the text depicts Mary as a character through her actions.
  • Looks
  • "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. (Dahl Paragraph Forty-Five)." "She came out slowly, feeling cold and surprised, and she stood for a while blinking at the body, still holding the ridiculous piece of meat tight with both hands. (Dahl Pragraph Forty-Eight)." "All right, she told herself. So I’ve killed him. (Dahl Paragraph Forty-Nine)."
  • "That’s the way, she told herself. Do everything right and natural. Keep things absolutely natural and there’ll be no need for any acting at all (Dahl Paragraph Seventy-Six)."
  • At this point, Mary Maloney's thought process was mostly flooded with the thought that everything must look natural. As if nothing had ever happened. All Mary could do was try her best to make it seem as if it had never happened, or as if when she entered her house coming back from getting the vegetables, it would seem as if she had no idea it had happened. Mary Maloney had already started to compose a proper alibi for herself, something that every successful and perfect murder needs. Her thought process was that she just had to make it seem like she had done nothing. All she wanted to do was make everything seem natural, and at this point, many severe and devilish actions can be taken. This can be analyzed in two ways. Either Mary is simply someone who didn't want to be killed due to murdering her husband, or she might be the type to rely on certain passions and journeys to fuel her through everything. This could refer to her passion and love for her husband. Patrick didn't really attempt to conceal his dislike for his wife so she relied on her passion and love for Patrick to drive her through each day, even if he wasn't particularly showing her any affection. Now that he had broken her heart and she had killed him, she relied on the determination, passion, and confidence in herself to pull through and get away with this murder, and that was composed of her having to act innocent for killing her husband. Mary Maloney is a woman who has nothing better to do than to protect herself from her inevitable death if she gets caught. At this,  Mary Maloney figures that what she can do is protect herself, and the unborn child. Mary Maloney's passage of thought was that it was fine that she killed her husband, as long as she didn't get caught for being the one to commit it. This is a dangerous thought process to be around; the mentality of doing anything wrong is okay, as long as nobody finds out that it was you.
  • "'Patrick’s decided he’s tired and doesn’t want to eat out tonight,' she told him. 'We usually go out Thursdays, you know, and now he’s caught me without any vegetables in the house.' (Dahl Paragraph Sixty-Two)." "She told her story again, this time right from the beginning, when Patrick had come in, and she was sewing, and he was tired, so tired he hadn’t wanted to go out for supper. She told how she’d put the meat in the oven – “it’s there now, cooking” – and how she’d slipped out to the grocer for vegetables, and come back to find him lying on the floor (Dahl Paragraph Ninety)."
  • Mary Maloney did many things to alter the story of the murder to the police. She continued to act innocent in front of the police, and the kind grocer on her way back home. Mary Maloney had no issues with continuing to keep up her story, and didn't seem to falter at all as she spoke, even though she seemingly cried over her husband. In many instances in the text, Mary Maloney continued to tell her not-completely-true story to the police, which shows to us that even in the presence of proper authority such as the police, she had no problem lying right to their faces to protect herself. In her confidence in her lies, we can see that she doesn't regret her choices whatsoever, and has no issue in keeping up her act. Mary Maloney continued to act innocent in her speech, blaming all of her vagueness in answers on the shock resulting from her husband's death. "'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.' (Dahl Paragraph One hundred twenty-two)." Mary Maloney used her innocence to get the police to eat the only remaining evidence of the murder, and she continues to do this throughout the story. This is what we can take from Mary's speech.
  • It is shown that Mary Maloney has short blond hair combed in a short little flounce, and has a dress on throughout the film.
  • The way that Mary Maloney is portrayed in the film is very accurate to what women in the 1950s were wearing, and expected to wear at the time. They were told to be all put together and prepared for when their husbands came home. This can present that Mary Maloney was very much the average housewife, cherishing her husband, and doing what many housewives had to do then. She took care of her responsibilities, and did exactly as expected from women in the 1950s. Mary Maloney cooked, cleaned, and took care of her husband as he was very important to her. This provides the notion that Mary Maloney was completely fine doing all of the work around the house for her husband, as women in the 1950s were expected to do. She was fine with all of this until her husband told her he didn't want to be with her anymore. What she lived for was taken away, and her daily routine was ripped apart, causing a reaction of killing her husband without remorse. Mary Maloney was your typical woman from the 1950s, and is represented as so throughout the film and the story. 
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