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Born of Man and Woman

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Born of Man and Woman” by Richard Matheson.  We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will summarize the text and focus on plot and structure, themes,  and characterization.

Facts

  • Title: “Born of Man and Woman”
  • Author: Richard Matheson
  • Genre: Short Story
  • Year of Publication: 1950

Richard Matheson was an American writer of Norwegian descent. This short story was the first literary work he sold to a magazine, and it is the title story of a collection published in 1954. Richard Matheson wrote mainly science fiction and his works rely a lot on psychological suspense. Many of his novels were turned into films. 

Excerpt 

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Narrative hook

The story starts in a broken English and from the first lines we realize it is the story of a child. In spite of the broken English, the readership is hooked; we do not know why the child is called a wretch, especially since the word can refer to both someone unhappy and someone vile. As the story continues, we realize the mother considers the child vile, evil: “This day when it had light mother called me retch. You retch she said. I saw in her eyes the anger. I wonder what it is a retch”. 

Foreshadowing

The word “retch” is a hint of the sad and traumatizing events to be narrated. The child proves to be a wretch in both ways. Its fate is unfortunate and it also turns vile in the end of the story, when it kills the pet and plans to hurt his parents.

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Born of Man and Woman

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