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. The narrator states that Mary “loved to” do what “in the presence of this man” (Patrick) in the beginning of “Lamb to the Slaughter”?

2. Mary hides the truth about Patrick’s murder to presumably protect whom?

3. How is the drink that Mary mixes for herself described in “Lamb to the Slaughter”?

4. Patrick tells Mary in the first half of “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “I hope you won’t blame” who too much?

5. What does Mary say when the police pick up after she calls them?

Short Essay Questions

1. What ultimate irony is presented at the end of “Lamb to Slaughter”?

2. When does Mary appear the most emotionally vulnerable in the story? Is this emotion true or a performance?

3. How would you characterize Mary’s mindset as she commits murder in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

4. What symbolism surrounds the murder weapon in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

5. What elements of the setting of “Lamb to the Slaughter” indicate the time period for the story?

6. How is “climax” defined? Where in “Lamb to the Slaughter” does the climax occur?

7. What is foreshadowed by Patrick’s action of downing of his drink in the story?

8. How is Mary’s transformation metaphorically depicted in her descent into the cellar?

9. What role does Sergeant Noonan play in the ultimate plot twist of “Lamb to the Slaughter”?

10. What is the central example of dramatic irony in “Lamb to Slaughter”?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the character of Mary and analyze her personality and characteristics as described in the narrative. How are Mary’s feelings about her husband indicated in the text? How does Mary Maloney fulfill the “archetype” of the American housewife in the 1950s? What characteristics does Mary exhibit that fulfill this archetype? How does Mary break from the archetype, and what do you think this indicates?

Essay Topic 2

Identity in “Lamb to the Slaughter”

a. How does author Dahl explore the theme of identity through the character of Mary in the story? How does Mary’s identity become threatened and what does she do as a result?

b. How does the theme of identity relate differently to the men and women in the story?

Essay Topic 3

Describe and discuss Mary’s response when she “discovers” Patrick’s body after returning from the store. Do you think that Mary’s emotions are legitimate or performed? In what ways does her behavior exhibit the qualities of performance? In what ways does her behavior seem to be legitimately driven by emotion?

(see the answer keys)

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