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Lamb to the Slaughter and Story of an Hour

Nowadays, freedom is a fundamental right for each man and woman, but it is not a perfect concept. When one’s freedom is endangered, he can do unimaginable things, especially when love is at stake or can react weirdly when he acquires it. It’s exactly what Kate Chopin, a female American author during the 19th century, did when she treated about women’s conditions in the short-story Story of an Hour in 1894, where a woman falsely learns about his husband’s death. Almost 60 years later, Roald Dahl wrote Lamb To The Slaughter, set in Great Britain, where a woman kills her husband and hide the evidences cleverly. These two short stories are not only comparative on the two female protagonists and the imagery used, but also on the main themes which are freedom and betrayal.
Freedom is one of the major theme in The Story of An Hour. Indeed, once she learned her husband’s death, and after she was crying alone in her room, she feels slowly happier: yes she is sad that her husband died but still, she starts to feel something that was never felt before, a feeling that embraces her which is the emotion of being free: “?Free, free, free!’and “Free! Body and soul free! ? she kept whispering’ “. Married, she was the innocent, loving and inferior to her husband, but now that was a widow, well that I what she thought, she felt that the era of her freedom was beginning :”There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers ”.Ultimately, freedom is actually what killed her because she tasted it for an hour and thought she was going to live as a free widow for the rest of her life, listening to her will and only hers and not bending to anyone but herself just like a slave would feel with his chains broken and the chance of starting his life all over again. She didn’t know that her husband was still alive, consequently she couldn’t handle the fact that her freedom was retaken from her and that she was never going to be free. However, in the slaughterto the house, the place of freedom is completely different .
On the opposite, in Lamb To The slaughter, freedom has almost nothing to do with the theme. Of course, when she kills her husband, she is free in a certain way, but it’s only a minor theme. It would be more about betrayal like it is seen in the story. So there it is, I? he added. I?And I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you, but there simply wasn’t any other way. Of course l’Il give you money and see you’re looked after. But there needn’t really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be very good for my job. I? Indeed, the fact that Patrick Maloney wants to leave her unexpectedly while she is pregnant is at least one example of betrayal. He wants to keep it low and not make a fuss because it would be bad for his image. It is almost as if he only cared about himself, while not caring about his wife nor his child and simply giving her money, thinking that it would repair everything.Furthermore, Mrs. Maloney also betrays him by ultimately killing him with the leg of lamb and also with the fact that she plotted to cover her crime.
The imagery used in this short story by Kate Chopin is very powerful. We get to fully experience the way her husband’s death afflicted the protagonist with the use of certain types of imagery. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. “Spring is, by definition, a period of transition from winter to summer where the plants reborn and also as the death of winter but in this story it represents the rebirth of Mrs. Mallard as a free woman and as if she was beginning a whole new life. Mr. Mallard would represent winter, a cold and rigorous character that rule over everything but at the moment he dies, spring appears. It is exactly what happens with Mrs Mallard, she reborn as soon as her husband is thought dead. Although both authors used imagery to enhance their stories, in Lamb To The Slaughter, it is much more implicit than in Kate Chopin’s story.
The imagery in Lamb To The Slaughter has a very powerful but subtle importance. Indeed, in the title itself, the choice of the word?lamb’ that signifies a baby sheep that does nothing really important but following the herd due to its weakness. Mary represents the lamb, she does everything to please her husband, exactly like a slave would do to please his master. She gets his slippers, his alcohol, his supper but she is still weak and under domination.At the moment she kills her husband, she also suppress the lamb that represents the weak Mary. Through all her stratagems to hide the evidences, she finally kills the lamb, or slaughter it as suggested in the title, by making the detectives eat the leg of lamb. It is not for nothing that she reacts with a?giggle’ after they acknowledged that the leg of lamb was probably the weapon, because she knows that she is not a lamb anymore and that she succeeded.
Mrs. Mallard is an intelligent and independent woman, she knows the right way for a woman to behave for her husband but deeply inside of her, she feels completely different. :?She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. ?. Indeed, she knows that it is abnormal to react the way she did, rather than feeling stupefied by a husband’s death like many women would do. Her reaction is a perfect example of her being a demonstrative emotional woman
Even though both of the protagonists are round characters, they are different in many ways. In fact, while Mrs. Mallard is emotional, Mrs. Maloney is more cold and ruthless. Yes she loved her husband very much, but as soon as she learned that he was leaving her, she went ballistic, insane and decided to kill him in order to protect her baby.I?Please, I? she begged. I?Please eat it. Personally I couldn’t touch a thing, certainly not what’s been in the house when he was here. But it’s all right for you. It’d be a favour to me if you’d eat it up. Then you can go on with your work again afterwards. I? She is a very intelligent woman that knows how to manipulate people smartly as it is possible to see when she convinces the detectives to eat the leg of lamb, which was only to destroy the evidence without them knowing it.
Other than being short stories and that the main protagonists are women, Lamb to the Slaughter and Story of An Hour from Roald Dahl and Kate Chopin are similar and different on many points. In Kate Chopin’s story, the main theme is freedom while it’s betrayal in Dahl’s. Even though the protagonists are both intelligent women, they are completely different: one is over-emotional and sensitive while the other one is a cold, ruthless and manipulative wife. In both stories, the imagery holds an important role and is adding a lot of meaning to each sentence. Sometimes, we can react violently when we feel threatened or disrespected, but would it be normal for us to feel happy with someone’s misfortune even though he might be hurting us? In that case, does the expression?One man’s meat is another man’s poison’has its limit?

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Lamb to the Slaughter and Story of an Hour. (2018, Oct 11). Retrieved from https://thepoetrytrust.org/lamb-to-the-slaughter-and-story-of-an-hour-essay

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