Lamb to the slaughter cloze exercise lesson 4

Lamb to the Slaughter
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Slide 1: Tekstslide
EngelsMiddelbare schoolhavoLeerjaar 4

In deze les zitten 16 slides, met tekstslides en 1 video.

time-iconLesduur is: 45 min

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Lamb to the Slaughter

Slide 1 - Tekstslide


Slide 2 - Tekstslide

Patrick’s betrayal of his marriage drives the rest of the story’s plot, leading to both his wife’s betrayal and that of his colleagues. When he leaves his wife, Patrick betrays not only the love Mary has for him but also the unborn child she is carrying and their private domestic life together. At the sudden breakdown of her marriage and the world she built around Patrick, Mary commits her own betrayal by killing her husband. Covering up the murder primarily for the sake of her child, Mary calls the police, maintaining a façade of innocence and manipulating the policemen to inadvertently commit a betrayal of their own. As they investigate the murder, the policemen unknowingly betray both their former colleague and their profession by drinking whiskey on the job and by eating the evidence, ironically speculating in another example of Dahl’s black humor that the murder weapon is “right under our very noses.” Through this succession of betrayals, Dahl seems to be suggesting that betrayal begets betrayal, that disloyalty and deception will only lead to more treachery.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Gender and Marriage

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

What life was like for women in the 50s
Historically, women have been often consigned to the private sphere of domestic life, as they were deemed by men to be intellectually and emotionally unfit for the public sphere outside of family and home life. Men, on the other hand, were able to move through both spheres, enjoying the comforts of domestic life provided by wives and mothers while interacting with the political and economic institutions of the public arena.

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Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Role reversal in the story
Patrick Maloney’s role reversals are two-fold. First, in contrast to the story’s early account of Mary’s infatuation with his masculinity and power, Patrick is now “feminized” as the power in his marriage shifts to his wife when she attacks him. Second, his death then undermines his role as a detective.
Whereas previously his duties as a detective would have entailed preventing the crime in the first place or bringing the culprit to justice, now he unable to do so as he must fulfill the role of murder victim.

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

Food and Consumption

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Slide 9 - Video

Who is eating who/what?
The weaponization of food is both literal and metaphorical, so is the motif of consumption. Mary, a happy housewife, is consumed with her marriage and her husband’s masculinity, and thus her role within a male-dominated culture.  Her entire life revolves around her husband. 

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Who is eating who/what?
Patrick is consumed with his work. He is always tired because of his work as a detective, he values his job more than he does his wife. After Patrick’s death, this consumption becomes literal and possibly cannibalistic for the detectives, who eat the murder weapon. As the detectives’ “thick and sloppy” mouths wolf down the leg of lamb, the men fail to realize that it had been bashed into Patrick’s skull and may even contain his blood. Whereas Patrick Maloney was once consumed with his work, now he is consumed by his work. The men’s suspicion that the weapon is “right under our very noses,”  is another example of the story's ironic black humor.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

The Lamb/Leg of Lamb

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

The Lamb
Traditionally the lamb is portrayed as a gentle submissive creature, associated with ritual or religious sacrifice (especially in Judeo-Christian tradition).

In this story, the figure of the lamb takes on two roles: as both avictim and a source of violence or sacrifice. Both Mary and herhusband Patrick take on the roles of figurative lambs as theysacrifice each other. 

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

The Lamb
However, while Patrick sacrifices Mary’s role as his wife by leaving the marriage, Mary sacrifices Patrick’s life, killing him with a frozen leg of lamb. 

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

The Lamb
The transformation of the lamb from an object of sacrifice to a tool of violence, signals Mary’s transformation from submissive housewife to violent killer, and resonates in the double meaning and black humor of the story’s title:
whereas the Maloneys are both lambs to be slaughtered figuratively or literally, the lamb, or rather the frozen leg of lamb, is also used as an instrument of slaughter. 

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

The Lamb
Once the policemen are called to investigate
Patrick’s murder, then, the lamb comes to represent both a
sacrifice for the detectives (as food) and a weapon against them (as that sacrifice as food entails the destruction of evidence).

Slide 16 - Tekstslide