This is a found poem I created with words from Roald Dahl’s short story, “Lamb to the Slaughter” , to display the conflict that is presented in the story. From the first three words of the poem– “Mary Maloney” and “husband” –it can be known that the two main characters in the story are Mary Maloney, the protagonist, and her husband, Patrick Maloney, being the antagonist. The reason for these two characters to be identified respectively in these roles, as stated, is in fact because of their stance in the conflict of the story. The plots in “Lamb to the Slaughter” revolve around the conflict that Patrick poses to the protagonist, Mary–which also the reason that made Patrick the antagonist. To clarify the conflict specifically, in the story, Mary’s husband, Patrick, allusively announced on one evening that he has an affair and will be leaving her—a heavily pregnant woman: in other words, he is divorcing her. From the poem and paragraph 35 of the story, this can be justified with the phrases, “I’ll give you money”, “see you’re looked after” and “I’m going out”. These phrases shows that Patrick, the antagonist” has made his decision and desires for a divorce. Additionally, I’ve also picked out phrases like “dazed horror” and “reject it all” to show how Mary respond emotionally and mentally to the problem her husband poses to her. It is evident that she was overwhelmed by the feeling of betrayal from his husband and wished to “find none of it had ever happened”, which further implies how the protagonist, Mary, is enduring conflict—posed by her husband—from their opposing desires. From the above pieces of evidence, it stands in reason that the conflict in this story is a character versus character conflict, which also means that it is an external conflict.
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