Thursday, July 8, 2010

"LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER" by Roald Dahl has lessons to be learned

Click here to read classic short story if you are not familiar with it

Although this classic literary work seems too dark for some, it shows some good examples of irony and black comedy.  The Holy Bible reflects the following prophecy about Jesus Christ:

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth. ~~ Isaiah 53:7

In Christianity, Jesus is referred to the Lamb of God.  He came to this earth and died so that people may be saved. His resurrection opened the path to heaven for those that acknowledge and follow Him.  The above passage indicates that he was "led like a lamb to the slaughter"; He was literally slaughtered for humankind. He was betrayed and deceived, as most trusting lambs are. That is not to say that Jesus was naive or did not anticipate his death, but rather that He came here with a purpose and with much love and peace.  Lambs are characterized as peaceful and Jesus is the epitome of peace. This passage also indicates that "he did not open his mouth", meaning He did not protest. He was willing to be the ultimate sacrifice for all of humanity.  This is a little different from the classic short story by Roald Dahl but to me the trusting factor is shared by both.

In the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl, we learn that the husband shares some devastating news with his wife. The reader is not exactly informed of what the news is but it is assumed that the husband is leaving his wife. The wife is so hurt by the news that she ultimately kills her husband when he least expects it by hitting him on the head with a frozen leg of lamb.  Later, the wife cooks a meal with the same leg of lamb that she killed her husband with, feeds it to the police officers and she basically gets away with murder. Seems cruel from all angles, right ?  I see some lessons here.

Let's go back. When the husband shares his news with his wife, I believe that he trusted her enough to believe that although he hurt her, she would never hurt him back.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  The wife snapped and murdered her husband, something she probably thought she was never even capable of doing. Basically, the husband trusted blindly.

How many times do we trust blindly ? How many times do we put ourselves in situations that are life-threatening or harmful to ourselves and those around us simply because we put our trust in the wrong person, place or thing ?  How many times do we not consider the consequences of our actions ?

Before we believe everything that we read or hear, before we believe everything our own parents have told us and before we believe things what our government and educators are telling us and our children , we need to make sure that we are reading and listening to the truth and not lies or fancy versions of the truth.   We may have every good intention but we cannot think for others; their motives and intentions are their own.
Furthermore, we need to think before we speak. Our words may have profound effects on others.  Do you consider the repercussions of your actions and words ? Can you deal with the results ?

It is our responsibility to use discretion and wisdom in everything we do.  "Lamb to the Slaughter" may be too dark for some,  but life isn't always rainbows and butterflies.

What are your thoughts or interpretations on this classic short story ?

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