Roald Dahl Short Stories
Some of Dahl’s short stories have been adapted for a television series called ‘Tales of the Unexpected’. With close reference to the stories you have studied, explain whether you think that this title is an appropriate one.
The three stories that I have studied, (Lamb to the Slaughter, The Landlady and Neck), were all written by Roald Dahl and used in a TV series entitled ‘Tales of the Unexpected’. The stories were written between 1953 and 1959 and were all televised in the first series of ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ in 1979, although Lamb to the Slaughter had earlier featured in another television series, ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ in 1959.
I intend to briefly describe and analyse each story and then present my conclusions based on the individual stories and the three together, I can only present my evidence on the stories and not the TV series as I have not seen this but have read summaries of each relevant episode for some background information.
Lamb to the Slaughter opens with Mary Maloney, the pregnant, doting wife of a policeman, waiting for her husband Patrick to arrive home from work. When he does, all at first seems normal but despite Mary’s attempts to maintain domestic bliss, the tension builds and climaxes with Patrick making a statement to Mary that infers he intends to leave her, “So there it is … and I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you, but 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. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be very good for my job.” Mary’s world is shattered by this revelation, she is thrown into a state of shock, firstly thinking maybe she imagined it all. Mary attempts to return to normality by offering to cook supper but when Patrick curtly refuses this, she crushes his skull with a frozen leg of lamb. Mary then surprises the reader by calmly putting the lamb into the oven to cook and craftily...