I was reading On the Face of It, written by Susan Hill. When I completed reading Scene Three, I just thought that Mr Lamb was unconscious.

I read a book containing the explanation of the story and I was shocked to know that Mr Lamb died.

Can somebody please clarify that Mr Lamb is really dead by citing the relevant text from the story?

In page 68, "He stops dead. Silence." Who does he refer to? I assumed that it referred to Derry staying quiet.

The fact that Derry was speaking to Mr Lamb at the end made me feel he didn't die.


1 Answer 1


From the text, we cannot definitively say that Mr Lamb is dead. However, the play does strongly imply that this is the case. Lamb does not respond when Derry calls his name several times so he is clearly, at the least, wholly unconscious. For someone of Mr Lamb's age, that's pretty serious in and of itself.

However, the real clincher is the final stage direction:

[Derry begins to weep.]

Why would Derry be weeping if he can see that Mr. Lamb is breathing and may regain consciousness with help? Possibly from the shock, you might think, but a more likely and obvious answer is that he can see that Mr. Lamb is dead.

As the linked question suggests, there may also be good literary reasons why this is the case. The play would be less impactful and emotive without the implied death.

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