Lamb to The Slaughter CommonLit Answers Key

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CommonLit is a digital library of poems, articles, short stories, and historical documents. One of the historical contexts you are able to find on CommonLit is “Lamb to The Slaughter.” Well, here we are going to share information about Lamb to The Slaughter answers key and other information related to that historical context.

Key Facts about Lamb to the Slaughter

  • Full Title: Lamb to the Slaughter
  • Published: 1953
  • Literary Period: Modernism
  • Genre: Short story, black comedy
  • Setting: Late 1940s or 1950s, in the Maloney home and a nearby grocery store
  • Climax: Mary kills her husband
  • Antagonist: Patrick Maloney
  • Point of View: Third-person limited

Lamb to The Slaughter CommonLit Answers Key

Lamb to The Slaughter Answers Key

Here is Lamb to The Slaughter answers key:

  1. Why is Mary Maloney smiling as she waits for her husband’s return at the beginning of the story?
    a. She knows she will get even with him that night.
    b. She loves him and always finds his return a “blissful time of day.”
    c. She knows he won’t speak to her for a while, and she is looking forward to the peace and quiet.
    d. She likes being able to have a drink of whiskey with him.
    Answer: B. She loves him and always finds his return a “blissful time of day.”
  2. What is Mr. Maloney’s job?
    a. Minister, member of the clergy
    b. Police detective
    c. Butcher
    d. Stock broker
    Answer: B. Police detective
  3. Mr. Maloney tells Mary he hopes she will not fuss about his decision.  How does he justify this demand?
    a. “I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after.”
    b. “It wouldn’t be very good for my job.”
    c. “I’ve thought about it a good deal.”
    d. “…there simply wasn’t any other way.”
    Answer: A. “I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after.”
  4. Mr. Maloney can be characterized as ___________
    a. Honorable and innocent
    b. Disloyal and untrustworthy
    c. Gentlemanly and kind
    d. Totally evil
    Answer: B. Disloyal and untrustworthy
  5. What is Mrs. Maloney’s motive for going to get the lamb from the freezer?
    a. She wants to use it to hit Patrick.
    b. She is nauseated at the idea of eating what she already made for dinner.
    c. She thinks she should go about her business as usual and then things will be alright.
    d. She thinks she can win Patrick back with her cooking.
    Answer: C. She thinks she should go about her business as usual and then things will be alright.
  6. What is Mrs. Maloney’s reaction as her husband gives his “news” to her?
    a. She goes from anger to horror.
    b. She goes from horror to disbelief.
    c. She goes from bliss to fury.
    d. She becomes violent immediately.
    Answer: B. She goes from horror to disbelief
  7. Which word does not describe Mrs. Maloney’s immediate reaction to realizing she has killed her husband?
    a. Remorseful
    b. Surprised
    c. Clear-minded
    d. Shocked
    Answer: B. Surprised
  8. Which pair of words best describes Mrs. Maloney’s actions after she kills her husband?
    a. Frightened and shocked
    b. Light-hearted and funny
    c. Careful and honest
    d. Resolute and clever
    Answer: D. Resolute and clever
  9. Why does Mrs. Maloney go to see Sam?
    a. She needs vegetables to go with the lamb.
    b. Patrick has decided he wants to eat dinner.
    c. She needs someone such as Sam to be a witness that she was out of the house when the murder was committed.
    d. She doesn’t understand that Patrick is already dead.
    Answer: C. She needs someone such as Sam to be a witness that she was out of the house when the murder was committed.
  10. When Mrs. Maloney returns home from the grocery and sees Patrick’s dead body on the floor, how does she feel?
    a. She pretends she is very upset.
    b. She literally is upset and shocked and even feels love for him.
    c. She feels indifferent (that is, she couldn’t care less).
    d. She feels guilty and forgives him completely for being unfaithful.
    Answer: A. She pretends she is very upset.
  11. What evidence is there that the police have not ruled out Mrs. Maloney as the murderer?
    a. The police go off to question the grocer about her alibi.
    b. They never suspect her at all.
    c. They check the house for her fingerprints.
    d. They tell her they are looking for the weapon.
    Answer: D. They tell her they are looking for the weapon.
  12. What do the police do with the murder weapon?
    a. They eat it without knowing it is the murder weapon.
    b. They leave it in the garage.
    c. They eat it although they know it is the murder weapon.
    d. Nothing.  They never find the spanner.
    Answer: A. They eat it without knowing it is the murder weapon.

Historical Text of Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl

Based on its reference to a deep freeze, a once-famous term for a refrigeration unit, this story likely takes place in the 1950s. Mary’s chat with Sam about if freezing meat makes a difference suggests that the technology was new then. As in this time, life in the 1950s was very influenced by patriarchy, a system in which the men hold more political, economic and social power than women. Though women in the United States and Britain obtained the right to vote in the early 20th century, the women in the 1950s did not have as many chances as their male counterparts, and were expected to remain in the private sphere of domestic life, taking care of their home, children, and breadwinning husbands.

Like the story of “Lamb to the Slaughter,” many of Roald Dahl’s other stories for adults consist of the elements of black humor/comedy.

Here are some other books contain elements of black humor or comedy:

  • Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaneal West
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Also, the plot of “Lamb to the Slaughter” is similar in some ways to Susan Glaspell’s works Trifles and A Jury of Her Peers, both of which involve a repressed housewife murdering her husband and her motive never being understood because of the male detectives’ arrogance.

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