Roald Dahl wrote the story “Lamb to the slaughter,” in the middle of the 20th century. The story comes from his book “Tales from the unexpected,” which is a collection of short stories, all of which have a twist in the end of them. Roald Dahl is famous for writing children’s stories like “The B. F. G” (The Big Friendly Giant) and “Charlie and the chocolate factory. ” Some of his stories are thought of being amongst the best literature in England. The title “Lamb to the slaughter” is symbolic to the actual story. It is ambiguous.
Metaphorically, it can be compared with a lamb going into the slaughterhouse and not knowing what is ahead or what is going to happen. The title is relevant to the story, as Mary Malone literally kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb. “She swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air. ” The blow from the frozen Lamb is fatal for Mary’s husband, Patrick Maloney. He too can be compared with a lamb going into the slaughterhouse. “Vendetta” was written in the middle of the 19th century, over a hundred years before “Lamb to the slaughter,” by a French writer called Guy De Maupassant.
Maupassant who was famous for his pessimistic stories about peasant life and the fashionable life of Paris. The title sets the scene for the whole story, which follows the theme of revenge. Revenge is a timeless thing, and it is a part of human nature and so many stories revolve around it. The title tells us this as a “Vendetta is derived from the Italian word for blood feud which can be counted as revenge. “You shall be avenged. ” This shows the determination for Saverini, to get revenge on her son’s murderer. Over the years, forms of revenge may have changed, but they are still always there.
In the 18th century, people may have gotten revenge by destroying other peoples crops, where as now, people would get revenge by breaking other peoples computers. In both stories, revenge is gained by murder, although, the murders only murder out of their own love for the person who has hurt them or is being hurt. “She came out slowly, feeling cold and surprised. ” This shows just how shocked Mary Maloney was at what she had done. She had never meant to hurt her husband, but she was in shock and probably denial at what she had just witnessed. Although the murder in “Vendetta” was planned, Saverini probably felt the same way.
Roald Dahl’s “Lamb to the slaughter,” opens with a descriptive paragraph of the room in which the murder takes place. “The room was warm and clean. ” I think that this is an affective way to start the story as it sets the scene of a cosy, tidy house. There is one simple line, that I feel shows how much Mary loves her husband. “Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come him from work. ” This shows the anticipation that Mary is feeling while she waits for her husbands to return home from work. “Each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come. ”
I think that this builds up the emotions and also makes the reader slightly tense at what is about to happen. This makes it worse when Patrick Maloney breaks his new to Mary Maloney as the reader already suspects that something is going to happen but because of the amount love that Mary shows towards her husband, the reader does not suspect anything bad to happen. “And he told her. It didn’t take long. ” We don’t actually find out what it is that Patrick tells his wife, but the way in which the story his written, you assume that he has had an affair. “I hope you won’t blame me too much. ”
By not telling the reader what is happing, Roald Dahl makes the reader think and they then use their imagination. This is affective because it leaves the story open to many ideas and also keeps the reader interested in the progression of the story. After this, Mary is in a state of shock and so she tries to carryon with her normal routine. “I’ll get the supper,” she managed to whisper. This shows that Mary is trying to deny the whole thing and pretends like it never happened. I think that this is good the way in which Roald Dahl writes this way, as many people would be able to associate with this situation.
Mary then went down to the basement to her freezer and decided to cook lamb for supper this was an automatic movement and she carried the lamb upstairs as she would have on any other night. As Mary walked passed the room, where her husband was standing, staring out of the window, Mary walked up behind him and without thinking; she swung the lamb down on to his head as hard as she could. “She swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head. ” This comes as a shock to the reader, as nobody suspects Mary to kill her husband and the weapon is unexpected.
As her husband falls on the floor, Mary knows that she has killed him. She gives the impression of not caring at this point but then she realises what the penalty would be for her if she got caught and we also find out that she has a baby. I think that Mary feels scared at this point and is unsure about what to do next. I think that the reader sympathies with her at this point. Mary Maloney decides to go about her usual business and act like nothing has happened. She knows that she needs an alibi for where she was when her husband was murdered.
Mary feels scared and as she practices what she is going to say to the shopkeeper, it sounds and looks fake and put on to her. This shows just how insecure Mary is feeling at this point. “She tried a smile. It came out rather peculiar. ” At this point, the reader starts to feel the tension build up about weather she will or will not get away with the murder and if she does get away with it, how will she do it. Mary then proceeds with the usual tasks, she goes to the shop and after having a polite conversation with Sam the shopkeeper, she leaves with all of the items that she would need to produce a nice supper with.
That’s the way, she told herself. Do everything right and natural. ” At this point, Mary decides, to keep everything quiet and when she gets home, she will pretend that nothing has happened until she sees her husband on the floor, at that point, she will act shocked and cry out for help. “It was easy. No acting was necessary. ” The shock actually hit her once she got home and she actually saw her husband on the floor. She did not realise what she had done and then she just broke down into tears. This makes the readers sympathises with her even more.
The next thing Mary does, is ring for the police to inform them of the situation. The police are right over, they confirmed that Patrick Maloney was dead. The detectives asked lots of questions and took many photos of the murder scene. The detectives even went around to speak to Sam the shopkeeper to check Mary’s story. As she knew, they would, but luckily she had an alibi and so could not be associated with the murder. The police stayed with Mary for a long time afterwards. Mary asked one of the sergeants to pour her a drink.
She then asked him if he would have one to. Why don’t you have one yourself,” she said” The sergeant agreed, this adds humour to the story, as it is very unprofessional for them to be drinking on the job. The police officer reminds Mary that she still has meat in the oven and then they ask her what she wants to do with it. She says, “Why don’t you eat up that lamb that’s in the oven. ” Once again, it is not very professional for them to accept this offer yet they are easily persuaded to stay for tea. While the officers are eating the lamb, Mary hears them talking about the murder. “Probably right under our very noses. ”
This line is ambiguous as he is saying the line because he feels that the weapon must be close by, yet it really is right under there noses, as they are actually eating the meat. In this story, Roald Dahl makes the police out to be stupid and unprofessional. This is not a very good image, but it is one of truth and the reader can easily associate with it. “Vendetta” has the same theme throughout it as “Lamb to the slaughter. ” This proves that revenge has been around for a long time. “Vendetta,” like “Lamb to the slaughter,” starts off with a descriptive paragraph describing the setting off the story. Cut in the cliff like a gigantic corridor. ”
This is affective as it allows the reader to feel like they are almost there as they can picture where the story is set. The place where it is set is described as being cold and dull, it is a typical of a peasant place and sounds like a harsh environment. It is set just off Bonifacio. The story is about a woman called Saverini, who was the widow of Paolo. She lived in a house right on the edge of the cliff with her only son, Antoine and their dog Semillante. “A large, thin animal with long, shaggy hair, of the sheep-dog breed. The young man used her for hunting.
Guy De Maupassant, use lots of descriptive words to help the reader imagine what things are like. From the descriptions he uses in the first few paragraphs, you can tell the Saverini loves her son and the place where she lives even if it is not in the most desirable of locations. One day, tragedy struck, Nicolas Ravolati killed Antoine. Nicolas managed to escape before being caught and once his mother found out, she was distraught. That night, she shut herself in her house with her deceased sons body. She wept for her son, with her dog by her side and she promised him that she would seek revenge.
Stretching out her wrinkled hand over the body, she swore vendetta against him. ” This was the biggest promise that she could have made to her son. She had sworn revenge on the person who had killed her son. “There, there, you shall be avenged, my little one, my boy, my poor child. Sleep, sleep, you shall be avenged, do you hear! Your mother swears it! And your mother always keeps her word; you know she does. ” This shows just how much Saverini meant her threat. I think that it is good the way that Maupassant wrights this part as it leaves the reader wondering how Saverini will seek her revenge.
Maupassant then describes a painful scene between Saverini, Semillante and Antoine. This causes the reader to feel sorry for Saverini as she has lost her son, who was her only connection with her dead husband, Pablo. For days after her sons murder, Saverini sat for days, trying to figure out a way in which she could gain her revenge on her sons murder. She did not think that she could do anything as she was so old and frail, but she had promised her son and so she felt that she had to. A couple of weeks later, Saverini came up with a plan. The reader is left in suspense at this time and is not told what Saverini has planed.
The next day, Saverini went to church, where she asked God to help her through what was going to happen. “She prayed, kneeling on the stones, prostrate before God, begging Him to aid her. ” This is ambiguous, as later on in the story, you find out that Saverini wants to kill Nicolas and God would not normally help somebody murder another living thing. When Saverini returned home, she tied her dog up in her kennel and for three days fed her nothing but water. After three days, Saverini made the figure of a person using old clothes and straw.
She then cooked some black pudding on a fire next to the kennel. This made the dog mad with hunger. Once cooked, Saverini tied the black pudding around the figures neck and let the dog off its leash. The dog went straight for the food. “With a tremendous bound the animal leapt upon the dummy’s throat and with her paws on his shoulders began to rend it. ” Once the dog had finished, she had ripped the neck of the figure apart. Saverini then proceed putting the dog back into her kennel, starving her for three days then repeating the whole procedure again and again.
She did this for three moths, until she did not have to tie her up, but she would attack on her masters command. “Semillante would tremble, then turn her eyes towards her mistress, who would cry “Off! ” in a whistling tone, raising her finger. ” At this stage, the reader has probably guessed what is about to happen. The next day, after going to church, Saverini dressed into old mans clothes, took her dog by the lead and headed to where she knew her son’s killer was hiding. Once she knew where he was, she let the dog off the lead and screamed, “Off, off, bite him, bite him! With that, Semillante attacked Nicolas.
He was knocked to the floor while the dog ripped at his neck. Nicolas was killed almost immediately. The story finishes with one simple line. ” In the evening the old woman returned home. That night she slept well. ” This is affective as it informs the reader that Saverini has fulfilled her Vendetta for her son and she could now sleep well. After I read the two stories, I thought that they had nothing in common as they were written by completely different people, of different cultures. Roald Dahl was English and Guy De Maupassant was French.
In “Lamb to the slaughter,” Mary did not plan to kill her husband, but in “Vendetta,” Saverini spent months carefully planning the murder. The two stories were written over a century apart. The circumstances, in which the murders happened, were completely different. The main characters are completely different as Mary Maloney is young, wealthy and lives in the city, but Saverini is an old, poor women who lives in the “middle of nowhere. ” “Lamb to the slaughter” contains some humour through the story, but “Vendetta” does not have any humour through it.
I think that the humour breaks the story up and makes it more interesting and therefore holds the reader’s attention better. I feel that this is an important factor as it makes the story more enjoyable. “Lamb to the slaughter” is humours when the police are drinking as they all start with the drinking. “One by one the others came in and were persuaded to take a little nip of whisky. ” This shows just how unprofessional the police department are and this can cause humour in the story as people can picture it being true.
Although I thought that the two stories had nothing in common, after I looked at them more carefully, I realised that they both had a lot in common with each other. The two stories contain the same moral or lesson. They are about revenge and how to get it. Both crimes were committed by women, which are unlikely. I think that this is good as most stories with murders in them , are committed by men. I feel that this sexist and therefore it is good to have a change by having a woman committed the crime.
In both stories, I feel that the murder will get away with the crime as nobody suspects the Mary in “Lamb to the slaughter” of killing Patrick Maloney and I also think that Saverini will get away with her murder as the only people who saw her near Nicolas were his neighbours and they only saw a poor beggar man leaving so nobody would think that Saverini had anything to do with it. Both characters show devious sides throughout the story. Mary Maloney is devious as she plans her alibi by going to the shop and also when she gets the police to eat the murder weapon. “It’d be a favour to me if you’d eat it up. ”
This is ambiguous as she says it as just a normal way of speaking, but really it will be a favour to her, as it would be destroying the evidence. Saverini is devious when she plans out her whole plan for revenge. She pays particular attention to detail for example; she gets dressed as a man, to avoid being caught. Both women mudded out of love. Mary murdered her husband because she loved him dearly and he had broken her heart when he had told her his news. The shock that she was about to loss the one person who she loved most, caused her to go to desperate measures, by letting out all of her rage and killing her husband.
Saverini was also shocked, when she found out that her son was dead. She was so upset that she made a promised that she had to keep, to her son, to seek revenge. She loved her son so much, that she could do nothing but gain revenge on the person who had hurt him and ultimately hurt her. Both stories have an opening paragraph that consists of a good description of the place where the story takes place. This is affective as it makes the story seem more real. After I had studied both stories, “Lamb to the slaughter” by Roald Dahl and “Vendetta” by Guy De Maupassant.
Out of the two stories, I preferred “Lamb to the slaughter. ” This was because it contained humour which helped to keep my attention and also because of the twist in which it had in its end. I also found it easier to associate with “Lamb to the slaughter” as it is a more modern story. Although “Vendetta” was a good story, I did not like it much as I found it dull and hard to associate with it. There wasn’t as much suspense in “Vendetta” as there was in “Lamb to the slaughter. ” I feel that this made the story less interesting and so made me preferred “Lamb to the slaughter. “