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Lamb to the Slaughter Summary
Roald Dahl

Everything you need to understand or teach Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl.

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Lamb to the Slaughter Summary


Initially rejected, along with four other stories, by The New Yorker, "Lamb to the Slaughter" eventually appeared in Collier's in 1953, after Knopf published its first collection of Dahl's short stories and established his American reputation. Dahl had been making headway as a professional writer with a spate of tales which, like "Lamb to the Slaughter," reflect aspects of human perversity, cruelty, and violence. "Lamb to the Slaughter" opens with Mary Maloney, the pregnant, doting wife of a policeman waiting for her husband to come home from work. When he does so, he makes an abrupt but unspecified statement to Mary, the upshot of which is that he intends to leave her. Her connubial complacency shattered by this revelation, Mary crushes her husband's skull with a frozen leg of lamb and then arranges an alibi. The laconic suddenness of the events, as Dahl tells them, creates an experience of shock...

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