Posted: June 24th, 2021
How does R. Dahl illustrate conflict between appearance and reality in 3 of the 5 short stories? The Landlady appears to be very nice, friendly and kind, which we can read in the text: “She was about forty-five or fifty years old… she gave him a warm welcoming smile” and “she seemed terribly nice! ”. As we follow the plot, the reality of her is that she is probably a serial killer and maybe has a psychic illness. The character of Mary Maloney is similar to the character of the Landlady.
They’re both killers, but there is a little difference between them, because we think the Landlady is a serial killer and she prepares to kill him, as Mrs. Maloney didn’t really prepare to kill her husband, however she prepared to set up a convincing alibi. She gave a nip of whisky to every policeman: “Why don’t you have one yourself. You must be awfully tired. Please do. You’ve been very good to me. ” And just after that, she offered the lamb, which she killed her husband with: “Why don’t you eat up that lamb that’s in the oven? . But there is another difference; the Landlady actually wants to kill the boy as Mrs. Maloney killed her husband by impulse. The appearance and reality of the Man from the South. He seems to be a rich, good looking person. That’s the first impression of him, he is wearing a suit: “Just then I noticed a small, oldish man walking briskly around the edge of the pool. He was immaculately dressed in a white suit and he walked very quickly with little bouncing strides, pushing himself high up on to his toes with each step.
He had on a large creamy Panama hat, and he came bouncing along the side of the pool, looking at the people and the chairs”, and just after that the reality comes: “He stopped beside me and smiled, showing two rows of very small, uneven teeth, slightly tarnished”. The culmination point of the appearance and the reality in the Lamb to the Slaughter is when Patrick Maloney did an unusual thing: “He lifted the glass and drained it in one swallow although there was still half of it, at least half of it, left”.
Their household appears to represent a domestic ideal- comfortable, middle-class, with a traditional division of responsibility, ordered and strong on routine: “Now and again she would glance up at the clock, but without anxiety, merely to please herself with the thought that each minute gone by made it bearer the time when he would come” and “When the clock said ten minutes to five, she began to listen, and few moments later, punctually as always she heard the tyres on the gravel outside, and the car door lamming, the foot-steps passing the window, the key turning in the lock” which tells us, that she is waiting for him every day. She killed him by impulse, but then she set up a convincing alibi, and that’s the reality of her.
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