Theme and message



The main theme of the short story “Born of Man and Woman” by Richard Matheson is violence. This theme is mainly illustrated through the behavior of the parents towards the child, but also through the child’s behavior. The parents keep their physically deformed child locked up in the cellar and beat it. The child is also violent, since it kills a cat and hits the stick out of the father’s hand. Readers are also told that a violent episode has previously taken place: “I will show them. I will do what I did that once.”, but no clues are given regarding the reasons or any details. 

The title “Born of Man and Woman” suggests that the child’s ability to become violent might be either learned or inherited from the parents. The title shows that, despite the child’s unusual appearance, it h...

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