Lamb to the Slaughter; Satire for Beginners

Although part of the curriculum, Roald Dahl’s; “Lamb to Slaughter” does not per say fall into the digital media category. Ronald’s story is presented as a printed short story; one that does not break boundaries or create new innovative ways of formatting. The short story merely follows the classic dramatic five-part structure. Displaying a perfect flow between the conflict, rising action and climax. This allows for readers of any age and prior background knowledge of technology to easily follow along the story with ease. Opposed to a new aged story using a blog or digital format, which can muddle the true meaning of the story. Ronald’s use of a classic format reflects on the essence of his story. Although presented as a classic story with stereotypical characters such as the relationship between the stay at home wife and the husband with aggressive tendencies, the story is nothing but. Alike the characters, at first glance the story fits into the typical cookie cutter stereotype portraying nothing but a story of marital struggles. Looking deeper into the story, unexpected twists begin to appear. Taking place using calculated satire’s to foreshadow violent events that are yet to happen.

Ronald’s story holds a higher quality of writing as he frequently uses tools such as suspense, motif, and foreshadowing. The use of suspense is what separates “Lamb to the Slaughter” from other stories as it holds the ability to keep the reader engaged with the unexpected villainous of the main character. The shock value he creates by initially portraying the wife as feeble draws the readers back to re-analyse the story over and over to watch for the moment when the seemingly innocent wife changes into an emotionless killer. The nod to the frozen lamb leg in the beginning foreshadows to the twisted future. The decision to have the detectives be fed the murder weapon is pure comical satire using dark humour to engage the readers. The satirical elements elevate the storyline allowing for a hidden extra message that can be picked up by the older audiences. The dark humour makes light of the taboo situation that is murder and allows for it to be interpreted in a non-serious manner.

Although full of literary tools Ronald’s story is written in a simpler level of English, steering clear of words unknown to readers and those without a dictionary at hand. This allows for the story to be related to and enjoyed years later as the meaning still remains the same. The choice to keep the story easily understood allows for a vast appreciation across all spectrums of people and may be the reason it is viewed as a literary classic with a dark twist. Indulging in “Lamb to the Slaughter” is a must for all who yearn for a classic relatable to today’s society and creates a flawless masterpiece of satire and wit.

“Lamb to the Slaughter–Roald Dahl (1916-1990).” Lamb to the Slaughter–Roald Dahl (1916-1990). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.


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