The main themes of the poem “A Case of Murder” by Vernon Scannell are violence and death, and guilt and secrets. These themes are enhanced through the motif of parental neglect, which functions as a cause for the boy becoming enraged with the cat, and acting violent.
The message of the poem is that childhood events can influence children’s development deeply, as at the end of the poem, the boy is still haunted by the fact that he violently killed a cat when he was nine years old. Furthermore, it also tries to warn against some of the negative consequences of parental neglect in early childhood, as the speaker is obviously frustrated with his parents leaving him home alone.
Violence and death
The themes of violence and death are explored in the first part of the poem in an unexpected way, ...