Learning check

1. Say it!


In groups of three: the first student names a square – for example B2 – and the second student in the group has to perform the task. Continue until all the tasks have been performed. When you are given a task, talk for at least one minute. If the student who has to perform the task needs help, he or she can ask the other students for help.






1. You are the mother.

Why do you keep your child chained in the basement?

1. You are one of the children who visits.

What did you see in the window when you were playing in the garden?

1. You are one of the visitors.

How did the parents make sure you didn’t notice anything unusual the evening you were at the house?

2. You are the father.

What do you intend to do?

2. You are the little live thing.

What made you react when you were in the basement with the little girl?


2. You are the child and have got loose again.

What do you do?

3. You are a police officer who has been summoned to the house because of a lot of noise.

What do you see?


3. You are the child.

How do you feel about your father and mother?

3. You are the child.

How do you feel about your sister?


Learning check

2. Role play

In groups, write the script for a role play where the parents discuss the situation and try to work out what to do. Perform your play. It should last 2 minutes.


Text-related assignment

1. Written assignment: Continuation of the story

Write a continuation of the story (use about 150 words).  

Wider contexts

1. Psychological context: Freud’s model of the mind

Use Freud’s model of the mind to interpret the text (pre-reading task 4). Does this way of interpreting the story add to your understanding of it?


Wider contexts

2. Literary context: other text by a different author: comparison with Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Read a summary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on the internet. You may find the following link useful: http://www.bookrags.com/notes/frk/SUM.html.

Then read the following excerpt of an article about “Born of Man and Woman”. Do you agree that the two stories are similar in theme?

"Born of Man and Woman is also the story of a life created, only instead of in a lab it is by natural means. Something went wrong and a monster child was born to ‘normal’ parents. These parents approach the situation in much the same way that Dr. Frankenstein and society approach the monster of that tale – with no compassion or understanding. They keep their eight-year-old child locked in the basement, chained to a wall. They beat him when he tries to peek upstairs or does other things they don't like. And like the monster in Shelley's story, the child is referred to as a ‘wretch’.

Beyond these superficial similarities, the two also share a common theme: the plight of one upon whom the door has been shut by family and society. Matheson leads us straight into the heart of this theme through the eyes of the shunned illiterate child, using poor grammar and a simple world view that allows us to put ourselves in the monster's shoes.


I feel that both have good souls and just want to be accepted. When they aren't they gradually turn away from their inherent goodness. Frankenstein's monster kills again and pledges revenge on the scientist who brought him into existence. Likewise, the monster of “Born of Man and Woman” decides at the end that the next time his parents beat him he will 'hurt them'."


torment pine

compassion medlidenhed

plight tilstand, stilling



Wider contexts

3. Literary context: author’s comments

Read Richard Matheson’s own comments on the story. Why would he not be able to write the story today? Do his comments add anything to your understanding of the text?


"I don't recall what the circumstances were of how I got the idea for “Born of Man and Woman”. I think I just wanted to write a story about what would happen to an average set of parents if they had a monstrosity for a child. I did not mean for it to be science fiction. I assumed it was a fantasy, and as I have told people, I would not write it today, and I would not have written it for a long time in the past, simply because I could not have believed it with what I know now, having been a parent and having raised four children. I just wouldn't be able to accept the logistics of it, which would be unfortunate, because it works out pretty good, and it somehow became a classic in the field, even though it doesn't have that logic."



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