Lamb to the Slaughter Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How many policemen are left in Mary’s house after they’ve all had drinks?

2. One of the police detectives asks Mary if anything in the house could have been used as a weapon and if she will take a look around to see if anything is missing. What items does he suggest?

3. Patrick tells Mary that he’ll give her what after he’s related his story in “Lamb to the Slaughter”?

4. To whom does Mary call out when she returns from the store?

5. What is a prominent literary element in “Lamb to the Slaughter”?

Short Essay Questions

1. What influences can be seen in “Lamb to Slaughter”? When in Dahl’s career was the story written?

2. What central injustices mark the narrative of “Lamb to Slaughter”?

3. What differences can be seen between the 1950s society in the short story and society today?

4. How does Patrick Maloney feel about his wife Mary in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

5. How is the character of Patrick Maloney described in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

6. How would you characterize Sergeant Noonan’s behavior toward Mary in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

7. What is black humor? When did black humor rise in popularity in literature and entertainment?

8. How did “Lamb to Slaughter” fit in with the popular fiction of the era when it was published?

9. How do Mary’s actions after the murder resemble those of an actor preparing for a role?

10. What conversation between Mary and Sergeant Noonan leads to the destruction of the evidence in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the historical context of “Lamb to the Slaughter.” Consider how the story relates to its time period in terms of societal, political, cultural, and technological aspects. Do you think the story effectively reflects the time period in which it is set? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the author’s development of suspense and tension in the rising action of “Lamb to the Slaughter.” What are the main risks that the protagonist faces in the story? How are these risks compounded in the rising action? How does Mary deal with them?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the dialect and language style of the short story. What have critics and literary experts written about Dahl’s language style in his writing? Do you think that given the language style, this story could be set elsewhere? How would the story appear if recreated with a contemporary Chicago dialect?

(see the answer keys)

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