What Did He Say?! “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl In the middle of the conversation between Patrick and Mary, the narration changes for a single paragraph at the very climax of the conversation. Patrick leads into the conversation with the hope she won’t blame him too much. It then says that he told her, though not exactly what, and ends with him saying that he will take care of her. This change in narration is disturbing and in large part that is the point. This helps the reader to understand the disorientation and detachment of Mary. In addition to this, by not telling the reader exactly what happened in the conversation, it gives far more power to the reader in the interpretation of Mary’s later actions. By not knowing exactly what he said, it lets the reader decide if Mary’s actions in the rest of the story are justified or not. On your paper, write AT LEAST a full paragraph explaining what you think Patrick said to her, and your reasoning for thinking that. Be sure to include evidence from the story, including at least one quotation that proves your theory. “Lamb to the Slaughter” Questions to Think and Discuss Understanding 1. What preparations had Mary Maloney made for her husband’s return from work? 2. What is Mr. Maloney’s occupation? 3. What do the police search for in the story? 4. What “small favor” does Mary ask of Jack Noonan and the others? Analyzing 5. What indications are provided early in the story that Mary loves her husband? 6. What do you think Patrick Maloney tells Mary that is so terribly shocking to her? 7. Explain the ironic ending to the story, beginning with Mary inviting the police to eat. Give details to support your answer. Extending 8. Do you find Mary’s calmness and care in working out her alibi after the crime believable? Why or why not?