Presentation on theme: "Critical Study of a Short Story"— Presentation transcript:
1 Critical Study of a Short Story Lamb to the SlaughterCritical Study of a Short Story
2 Roald Dahl Born 1916 in Llandaff in Wales to Norwegian parents. Died in 1990 aged 74Most famous for his children’s novels including The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryServed in the RAF during WWII and began writing in 1942 after being discharged.
3 Roald DahlA writer of many adult short stories, which helped him to rise to fame in the UK.Noted for his darkly humorous style and simple language.
4 TitleWithout having read the story, in your groups come up with a prediction of what it may be about based solely on the title and the picture that you are given. You have 5 minutes.
6 Read the StoryListen as the story is read. Make sure you follow as it is being read to ensure you will recognise any words you haven’t seen before.
7 Mary MaloneyLook at pages Answer the following questions to demonstrate your understanding of the story so far:What do you think is Mary’s occupation?Is there anything unusual about the condition Mary is in?What does Mary’s husband do as a job?
8 Mary Maloney Character Find one piece of evidence from the text (pages 1-2) which shows that Mary is/has: Routine Loving Dedicated Tidy Caring Eager to please Naïve Patient
9 Mary MaloneyRoutine – When the clock said ten minutes to five/ I haven’t made any supper because it’s Thursday Dedicated – Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband/ Each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come home. Caring – You must eat / you can have it or not, as you like Naïve – It wasn’t till then that she began to get frightened.
10 Mary Maloney Loving – Use of ‘Darling’ / She loved him for…. Tidy – The room was warm and cleanEager to please – ‘I’ll get it!!!’/ ‘You can have it right here’ / ‘I can easily do it here. I’d like to do it.’ / ‘Anything that you want’Patient – He’s very short with her, yet she doesn’t take offense to anything he says.
11 Plot RecapIn your groups sort through the different events you have been given. Rearrange them into the correct order from first to last. You have five minutes.
12 Patrick MaloneyWrite down all of Patrick’s dialogue (speech) from when he enters the house to when he is murdered.
13 Patrick MaloneyDo you notice anything unusual about the length of Patrick’s typical sentences?Why do you think that Roald Dahl has chosen to make him speak in this way?
14 Patrick MaloneyUnderline any negative words and all commands which Patrick says.How do you think that this makes him seem as a husband?
16 Patrick MaloneyHow would you describe Patrick’s manner when he tells Mary his shocking news?What does he seem most concerned about?
17 Patrick MaloneyAs readers we assume that Patrick has told Mary he is leaving her (possibly for somebody else). Why do you think that Roald Dahl omits the reason that Mary kills Patrick?Could you make a case for it being something completely different e.g. Patrick tells her he only has one month to live? How does the build up of the story to now suggest that either is more likely?
18 PassageWrite a short passage about Mary at the start of the story which gives your first impressions of what she is like. You should mention what she says and does and what this tells us of her own attitude to herself and her position. You have 10 minutes.
19 Mary MaloneyAt the start of the story we meet Mary Maloney. She appears to be an ideal housewife who is very obedient and looks after her husband Patrick very well. We see this when she says ‘I’ll get it!’ as an offer to get Patrick’s drinks. She cares only for her husband’s needs, seemingly to the detriment of herself. She says ‘I’ll get the supper’ just after he has told her he will leave her. This shows us that she has no other reaction apart from serving him. Mary seems a little deluded, believing that they have a perfect marriage when it is apparent that this is not the case..
20 PassageWrite a short passage about Patrick which gives your first of what he is like. You should mention what he says and does and what this tells us of his attitude to his wife and his position. You have 10 minutes.
21 Patrick MaloneyAt the start of the story Patrick is introduced as a cold character. He does not seem to care well for his wife and speaks to her rudely and abruptly. He uses short sentences ‘No.’ and does not say please or thank you. Patrick is more concerned about his own reputation than he is for his wife’s welfare. He says ‘It wouldn’t be very good for my job’, showing again that he is not bothered about Mary. Finally, Patrick seems quite controlling. Mary has a routine which we might imagine he has set her, and he gives her commands – ‘Sit down’ throughout the opening scene.
22 Wrongdoing in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ Lying Adultery Perverting Course of Justice Murder Leaving a Pregnant Wife Fussing over husband Not paying attention to wife
23 Why do we sympathise with Mary? Why is it that even though Mary has committed what you consider to be worse acts we sympathise with her more than Patrick? Try to think of two or three different reasons, and for each one pick out evidence from the text to support your answer.
24 Reasons we Sympathise with Mary Situation – Mary is pregnant which makes Patrick’s actions seem worseCharacter – Dahl makes Patrick seem cruel through dialogue.Character – Mary set up as very kind, gentle caring and dedicated wife.Point of view – We are told the story through Mary’s point of view.Mystery of events.
25 Point of ViewThe story is told by a narrator. This narrator of a story is entirely separate from the author, and doesn’t necessarily represent their views or opinions.
26 NarratorThe narrator is the person who is actually telling the story. There are many different narrative styles, and all will give a different perspective of the events of a story. In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ we are presented with an irregular narrative style.
27 Point of ViewOften we say that a story is told specifically from one person’s point of view. There are several indicators that a story may be told from one person’s view in particular.Close attention to their thoughts and feelings.Narrative (story) stays ‘with’ them at all times.The narrator’s thoughts seem to reflect the main character’s.We learn of other parts of the story as the character learns of them, not through the narrator directly telling us.
28 Narrative StyleThe narrative is not that of Mary Maloney ie. somebody else is telling the story. But - The narrator knows only what Mary thinks, and does not have a deeper knowledge of any other characters. As such they are not ‘all-knowing’ as we see with many stories, but offer a slightly restricted perspective of the story from Mary’s point of view, though it is not actually Mary herself who tells the story.
29 Point of View – Thoughts and Feelings There are several passages in the story where we are told directly how Mary thinks or feels. eg. - ‘She knew he didn’t want to speak much’ Try to find a further three examples of point of view where we are told directly how Mary thinks or feels.
30 Other Parts of the Story Through Mary Parts of the conversations between police officers are told through the broken language that Mary picks up: ‘acted quite normal… very cheerful… wanted to give him a good supper…’ p.6 At the end we learn of the policemen’s conversation through what Mary overhears: ‘she could hear them speaking among themselves, their voices thick and sloppy’ p.7
31 Narrator’s thoughts seem to reflect Mary’s At times the voice of the narrator becomes indistinguishable from that of Mary’s own internal voice eg: ‘the funny thing was that he remained standing there for at least four or five seconds’ p.3 ‘That was better. Both the smile and the voice were coming out better now.’ p.4
32 Mary’s hiding of the crime Covering Her TracksMary’s hiding of the crime
33 Look at the section which starts: “All right, she told herself Look at the section which starts: “All right, she told herself. So I’ve killed him.” (page 3, bottom) Read the next three paragraphs.
34 Why hide the crime?Mary’s reasons for wanting to avoid being caught
35 Mary’s Motives for Avoiding Capture Consider the impact of the murder on the following things. Write a sentence with your reaction and a piece of evidence to show why you feel this way about:Mary’s immediate mental state.
36 Answers – Mental StateMary seems to react quickly and calmly to cover the crime. She begins to think of how to hide the crime (“It was extraordinary, now, how clear her mind became”/”She began thinking very fast”). This is opposite to what you would expect – tears, grief or panic.
37 Mary’s Motives for Avoiding Capture Consider the impact of the murder on the following things. Write a sentence with your reaction and a piece of evidence to show why you feel this way:Mary’s immediate mental state.Mary’s long-term future.
38 Mary’s Long-term Future Mary is aware of the death penalty. She is unconcerned for herself, as shown by “it would be a relief”, but she wants to avoid detection so that she can safely give birth and raise her child. This is shown in the line “she certainly wasn’t prepared to take a chance”.
39 Mary’s Motives for Avoiding Capture Consider the impact of the murder on the following things. Write a sentence with your reaction and a piece of evidence to show why you feel this way:Mary’s immediate mental state.Mary’s long-term future.Mary’s baby and its future.
40 The baby’s futureThe murder affects the baby as it would grow up to be an orphan. Mary’s short-term concern is that the baby might be killed in any execution – “did they kill them both – mother and child”. Mary is keen to avoid this, so wants to hide the crime.
41 5 Things that Mary does to cover her crime: Provides an alibi.Practices speaking to Sam to seem normal.Convinces herself that finding the body is a surprise.Gets the police on her side.Destroys evidence of the weapon.
42 1. Provides an alibiThe act of going out of the house to buy food helps Mary’s defense as it gives her a legitimate alibi, which as backed up by Sam. Answer the following questions:Do the police believe Mary’s alibi. Quote evidence from the text to support your answer.Do you consider the alibi to be believable? Would you expect the officers to be more suspicious of her excuse?
43 Practices speaking to Sam Why does Mary need to practice speaking to Sam?Pick out a word which suggests she learns the lines like an actress.What does this suggest about the conversation that she has with Sam?What technique does Dahl use to demonstrate that she learns her lines exactly.What do you notice about the rest of the conversation that seems unusual?Why do you think Mary mentions the leg of lamb?
44 Convinces herself that finding the body is a surprise Read from the bottom of page four to midway down page five.Quote four pieces of information which show that Mary deceives herself.Comment on one technique that Roald Dahl has used in the first paragraph of the passage which shows that Mary is speaking to convince herself.
45 Gets the police on her side Write down three pieces of evidence from the text which show how Mary managed to convince the police that she was an innocent victim. Clue: She does this by making the officers feel sorry for her and by making them think she is a nice person – in what ways does she manage this.
46 Destroys the EvidenceLook at the story as a whole. Do you think that Mary intended to destroy the evidence as soon as she committed the crime or was it an improvised solution later on? Include a quote to back up your answer. Why do you think Mary giggles at the end of the story? What does this say about her as a person and what does it suggest about her motives?