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A Case of Murder

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The poem ‘A Case of Murder’ was written by Vernon Scannel in narrative form. This poem is about a seven-year old boy who is left alone with a cat in his parent’s basement flat. The cat for many reasons annoys the boy and the poet shows this clearly in the poem. In the end, the boy couldn’t stand the cat and kills it. After he has killed the cat he hides it in the cupboard under the stairs and then possibly realizing what he has done, starts to cry. He imagines that the cat is one day going to come back to life. This poem is told in the third person and the message the poet is giving out is that young children should not be left alone.

There are many devices the poet has used in this poem. One device he uses is repetition. The word “alone” appears four times in the first five lines to tell the readers that the word “alone” is a main factor in this poem:

“They should not have left him there alone,”

“Alone, that is except for the cat.”

“…Not old enough to be left alone…”

This important word builds up a sense of suspense, as the readers will think that something bad is going to happen to the boy, however it turns out that the boy kills the cat, the reason being, he is alone. The poet is trying to point out that young children can do anything when they are alone.

The poet creates suspense for the reader after every line to keep them interested so they would read on. Here is an example where the readers are left in suspense:

“…Alone that is except for the cat.”

This line has been used to keep the readers in suspense and to show that something bad is going to happen. It also keeps the reader interested. This method has been used many times in this poem and is a very important way to capture the reader’s attention.

In this poem the ending shows the boy’s fear and his guilty conscience. This has been done by writing the boy’s imagination:

“…Though it died, its grown in that cupboard and its hot low purr grows slowly louder year by year:” This creative idea indicates to the audience that the boy has a conscience.

At the beginning of the poem, the poet has made it seem as if the boy was in danger of the cat. He created this effect by using words such as “alone”. This is a sentence where the boy seems to be in danger:

“He was only nine, not old enough to be left alone in a basement flat…”

The words “he was only nine” seemed to mean as if he was too young to die. By using this effect, the poet has got the reader’s sympathy for the young boy and it will give the reader a surprise after he/she has read the whole of the poem.

The poet has made it seem as if the boy enjoyed torturing the cat. The bot uses a stick to hit the cat and the poet describes the boy’s face.

“A wide eyed, frightened snarl of a grin,”

By describing the change of the boys face expression he has tried to make the boy seem evil. This is the part where the reader’s sympathy for the boy would have gone and it is almost like a twist in a story. The reason why the poet has done this is to once again prove that young children will do anything when they are left alone.

A sense of hatred I created by the poet between the cat and the boy to show that something bad is going to happen. The cat is described as,

“Plump as a cushion with tucked in paws.”

The poet has used this original simile to show the boy’s envy for the cat and also to create a sense of distance between them. Using the words “tucked in paws” makes the cat seem comfortable which is one of the reasons why the boy hates it, as the boy is alone in a basement flat.

Another reason why the boy attacked the cat could be because it was staring at him and this is making the boy uncomfortable. The poet describes the cat’s stare two times in the poem to show the reader that it was an important factor, the boy attacking the cat. Here is a description of the cat’s stare:

“With round eyes mad as gold.”

This unpredictable simile has been used to show the boy’s imagination that the cat is mad and is in a way scared of him. Describing the cat’s eyes as “mad as gold” adds to the boy’s imagination that the cat is going to do something bad.

This poem is a very well written one as it has many clever devices used in it. The poet has done well to makes it seem as if the boy was in danger and this is one the main reasons why I like this poem. What I like most about this poem is the ending, where the poet describes the boy’s fear and imagination by saying that the cat is growing bigger year by year. This poem is the only exciting one I’ve read and is by far the best one.

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