A Dark poem: Lamb to the slaughter

In the poem, I described an external conflict between the main character Mary Maloney and her husband, Patrick Maloney (Character vs. Character). The words used in the poem was from a short story called Lamb to the Slaughter, written by Roald dahl. The conflict occurred on an evening, when Patrick returned home from work. After a sequence of unusual behaviors from Patrick, he finally opened his mouth and told Mary about a divorce. Mary was first stunned, but after spotting the frozen lamb leg in the fridge, a dangerous thought came to her mind, and that was to murder her husband. The conversation between the two of them is designated to be when the author first introduces the conflict, after a series of rising actions, it had led to the scene of the murder which was the climax and at the same time, is the “happening” of the main conflict.

On the first few sentences, I enhanced the unease that Mary was feeling by using two dialogues from Patrick, all which telling her to sit down.

Then, the sentence “He became motionless, head down” appeared because it’s intentioned to imply to the reader that Patrick was not feeling proud to tell Mary about the divorce.

“Chin and mouth, in shadows” was used to express that the words Patrick said was very disreputable. Which links with the text that he wishes the things he told Mary is to be kept a secret and “needn’t really be any fuss.” -Paragraph 35 Especially the people at his job site, he’s not wishing for them to know.

“I’ll get the supper” is a very short dialogue from Mary. It’s short, but full of emotions. When she first said so, it was full of confusion and blankness, or a complicated feeling that Mary is having at the moment. Possibly being dazed, surprised, and completely at a loss of what to do. This sentence also presents a fact that Mary is trying to turn away from the reality. When she said, “I’ll get the supper”, it was a sign to go somewhere else and back away from everything. Her husband, the living room……just away from where she was and take some time alone. And interestingly, this helped Mary to discover the lamb leg in the fridge, allowing the plot to move on to the next stage.

Then, the reason why I used “All right” was because this phrase had a special tone to it. It sounded like hate and the intension for revenge—usually a phrase to hear from a hero movie. The main character shows a scorn and unyielding attitude towards the inequality and the cruelty of the real world, then swears to not bow towards their so-called destiny. And when that happens, they just go “All right then, I’ll… (swears to do something heroic)” In this case, during the time when Mary was left alone, “All right.” can cue the reader, that her confusion had started to fade away and what replaces the feeling was hate. Maybe hate was a little too harsh. Though, it was that moment when the intention to murder her husband emerges in her heart, but Mary does not notice it herself. This kind of equals to a carry forward of the plot and moves even closer to the main conflict of Mary murdering Patrick.

Followed by, when Mary was holding that lamb leg, passing by the living room, the sight of her husband had stimulated and triggered the intention to seek for revenge, the rage of Patrick leaving her during her weakest period, the period when she needs a lot of help—the period when she was already six months pregnant. The rage had motivated her into doing something next that was also the main conflict of the story—that is: “She swung in the air and brought it down. Hard. He crashed to the carpet……She killed him.”

Overall, I think the story delivers the bitter and irony of unsatisfied men. Through Patrick Maloney, Mary’s husband, the author had portrayed the result of an unfaithful man, of his horrible decisions and actions that led to his own death. His death was full of irony. Moreover, I think the story also had extruded the stupidity of Patrick Maloney through the foolish decision he made. If we recalled the story, Mary was doing almost everything that a wife can possibly do for their husband. From greeting him at the door to preparing supper. From hanging his coat to being considerate. Even with such a wife, Patrick decided to leave her because of his own desires. With Mary’s pregnancy, he left her when she needs him the most. All of this horrible timing and decisions adds up and worked as a blasting fuse towards Mary. Of course, Mary doesn’t want to get the reputation of being abandoned by her own husband. It was also out of rage when her husband decided to not only leave her, but also their baby that is still in her belly. So, in the end, Mary decided to kill Patrick. He ends up getting himself killed by the woman he had just chosen to abandon. Sarcastic, right?

Last but not least, the reason(s) why I had chosen the picture with the bloody lamb leg and dark smokes (Picture origin) to suit my poem. The lamb leg and the blood on it was to represent Patrick’s death. It’s supposed to give a feeling of sarcastic because 1) He was murdered by a piece of meat and died in the hands of a woman he’s about to leave. 2) He died because of his own stupidity. Then, the black smoke represents the desires that blinded Patrick Maloney into deciding to leave Mary. These two works together and form into the meaning of: The brief desires before one’s eyes can blind a man into making the wrong choice and end up getting a death full of irony. Because the meaning of this picture signifies the conflict and parts of the theme, I thought this illustration would suit perfectly.

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