In a well written paragraph, discuss how stereotypes and bias affect the behaviour of all the characters in this story.
In the story entitled, “Lamb to the Slaughter”, it is visible that the characters that Roald Dahl portrays are biased and stereotypical. In the beginning of the story after Patrick Maloney tells Mary Maloney “the news” he says, “And I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you, bet there simply wasn’t any other way. Of course I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after. But there needn’t really be any fuss” (Roald Dahl 13). Patrick Maloney speaks to his wife as if he expects her to be able to cope with “the news” and not argue with him on this matter. Mr. Maloney anticipates that his wife will accept his news and he does not even think about the possibility that she might be raging with anger at what he has told her. Mr. Maloney is bias in the sense that he expects his wife to act like the sweet, caring women that she is. Further in the story, the detectives prove to be stereotypical when they are searching for the weapon that the murderer used to kill Patrick Maloney. Jack Noonan explained the situation to Mrs. Maloney, “Her husband… had been killed by a blow on the back of the head administered with a heavy blunt instrument, almost certainly a large piece of metal…‘It’s the old story,’ he said. ‘Get the weapon, and you’ve got the man.’” (16). The detectives believed that a heavy metal object was used to murder Patrick Maloney and the possibility of a frozen weapon did not even cross their minds. The detectives were focusing more on the weapon used to kill Mr. Maloney and they started to lean on to the theory that the killer was a man due to the fact that the weapon used was heavy. The observations that the detectives made were stereotypical and may have led to the unsuccessfulness of the case. Finally, bias is also shown through the behaviour that the detective and police have towards Mary Maloney. In the story, the author described the detective’s attitudes towards Mary saying, “They were exceptionally nice to her, and Jack Noonan asked if she wouldn’t rather go somewhere else, to her sister’s house perhaps, or to his own wife who would take care of her and put her up for the night” (16). The detectives were bias to the fact that Mary Maloney could have been the murderer due to the fact that they knew her so well. The detectives knew Mary as the person she had been before the murder occurred so they automatically assumed that Mary could not have been a suspect. In conclusion, the characters in this short story behave in a bias and stereotypical manner.
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