Suspense In Roald Dahl's 'Lamb To The Slaughter'

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Gothic Literature, both traditional and contemporary are sources of unpredictable, mysterious entertainment. For example, ‘The Signalman’ written in 1866 by Charles Dickens utilises the setting, imagery and symbolism, as well as the theme of supernatural to generate the tension in the story. On the other hand, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ written by Roald Dahl exploits intense emotions such insanity and the theme of reality to conceive suspense. Both writers successfully integrate mystery into the stories to provoke suspense. To begin with, the setting in ‘The Signalman’ is used to generate thriller, especially the creepy, isolated tunnel and the Signalman’s post. The Signalman is described by the narrator to have a post at the most “solitary”…show more content…
Mary Maloney “simply walked up” behind Patrick and struck him with a “big frozen leg of lamb” “as hard as she could”. This completely contrasts the starting character of Mary as a housewife whom was patiently waiting for her husband to return home, which no one had expected. She did it “simply” which moulds an image of her not needing to think through her action, effortless and swift. The readers would be disgusted at how fast her character changes, thus suspense would be created as they would constantly question themselves about how it was possible. Additionally, after she struck her husband, she thought that it was “funny” on how “he remained standing” for a while. Usually after committing a crime, people would immediately feel guilty and sorry, but Mary though it was “funny” and even “giggled” when the detectives ate the evidence. The readers would say she went insane after killing her husband and feeding his colleagues with the murder weapon, which creates tension within the readers. Briefly, Roald Dahl uses insanity to create suspense in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ as people that are insane are unpredictable, leading the audience to anticipate the ending of the
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