A Tale of Deception

Critical Analysis of Theme

“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl is a short story about a woman by the name of Mary Maloney, who is married to her husband Patrick Maloney, a police officer. Mary is characterized to be the stereotypical 1950’s housewife, as she stays at home, makes food for her husband, is always respectful, and cares very much for her husband. However, the plot quickly takes a turn as Patrick tells Mary that he is leaving her. Patrick does not physically say this as dialogue within the story, though it is assumed by the reader that this is what he had meant. This leads Mary to kill her husband Patrick by hitting him in the head with a frozen piece of lamb and then playing it all off by visiting a local grocery store, acting surprised to the police, and feeding the investigators the lamb used to kill her husband.

The central theme developed by Dahl throughout the story is that those who may appear to be innocent may be anything but that. Mary Maloney is a housewife that is shown to be caring and respectful towards her husband, therefore no one suspects her to be the murderer. Additionally, Mary plays off the whole incident very well as she visits the grocer with a positive attitude. Though Mary is perceived by the public as a loyal housewife and an innocent widow, in reality she has a double identity which no one else is able to realize.


Dahl, Roald. “LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER-A Story.” Harper’s Magazine Sep 01 1953: 39. ProQuest. Web. 19 Feb. 2017 .

Innocent Guilty. 2015. Newson & Gapasin Attorneys At Law . Web. 19 Feb. 2017. <http://www.militarylawyer-defense.com/are-you-guilty-until-proven-innocent-in-the-military/&gt;.


Blogging: Modern Day’s Literature

Critical Interpretation of a Digital Surrogate

The original digital fiction of “Slice” by Toby Litt is a work of literature constructed by the viewpoints of two different individuals in the form of blogs. Within the short story, a young girl and her family move to London to begin a fresh start after having lived in America for quite some time. Though the trip was intended to be temporary, the family resides there longer as we are told that the family who originally lived there has suddenly passed away in a car accident. The young girl, followed by her parents, end up going through a mysterious hole in the backyard of the property where the story ends in an unresolved manner.

The remediation of the short story into the form of blogs is successful as it allows the reader to experience and learn new, varying aspects and personal traits for each of the narrators. For one, Lisa’s blogs contain both current moods and current music. This information allows the reader to understand the thoughts and emotions that Lisa may be having at the time and allows us to engage with the characters and the story more effectively. The dates and times on both the parents and Lisa’s blogs as well as the working links to other digital and social media formats help make the story seem more plausible, which in turn help immerse the reader into the story. The blog format itself made reading the entire piece of literature much more enjoyable as the division of the blogs help keep the reader intrigued and excited to read further, compared to a traditional short story which may have big blocks of text all on one page.

Litt, Toby. “Slice.” Web log post. We Tell Stories. Penguin Books Ltd. , 24 Mar. 2008. Web. 19 Feb. 2017. <http://www.wetellstories.co.uk/stories/week2/&gt;.

Disney. Rabbit Hole. N.d. London, England. The Disney Wiki. Web. 19 Feb. 2017. <http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Rabbit_Hole&gt;.


A Case of Affliction

Critical Interpretation of a Digital Story

In ‘Mary Gaitskill reads Vladimir Nabokov’s “Signs and Symbols,”’ Gaitskill tells the story of a Russian couple who are visiting their mentally ill son who has been receiving treatment within a nearby sanitarium. Nabokov creates a central theme of suffering throughout the story.

To start off, the couple are Russian Jews who were forced to flee Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler and seek refuge in another country. The parents are now forced to live on the earnings of the husband’s brother, who is known to be “The Prince.” Aunt Rosa was eventually killed by the Germans after facing many difficulties throughout her life such as bankruptcies, train accidents, and even cancerous growths. The most obvious, the boy who suffers from an illness known as “referential mania,” is also another example of hardship that is faced by the characters through the story.

Symbols in the story such as the helpless bird who is about to face death represent the characters of the story (i.e. the boy and Aunt Rosa) as they are also experiencing adversity and distress within their lives.

Having listened to the story “Signs and Symbols” through the medium of a podcast, Gaitskill evokes the reader’s feelings and understand the emotions of the characters.  With special appeal for auditory learners, it helps emphasize the difficulties that the characters were going through at the time. The emotion helps us to truly realize the amount of distress that there is in the lives of the characters and in the story as a whole.


“Mary Gaitskill reads Vladimir Nabokov.” The New Yorker Fiction Podcast from Condé Nast Publications, 21 April 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/mary-gaitskill-reads-vl adimir-nabokov

Miller, Benjamin. Bird Water. N.d. Free Stock Photos. Web. 18 Feb. 2017. <http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/766&gt;.