The Boy Who Drew Cats

by Lafcadio Hearn

Start Free Trial


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Accepting Children for Who They Are

Though the parents might have wished that their youngest child would be able to help out on the farm as all his older brothers and sisters do, they do not attempt to change his nature or force him to be like their other children. They see his cleverness and intelligence and try to help him find a way to nurture these qualities. Because they do not try to change him, he ends up accomplishing something that no one else could, and he eventually becomes a great and famous artist.

The Importance of Following Trustworthy Advice

Though the boy does not understand the priest's advice to avoid big places at night and keep to smaller locations, he still heeds the advice, and this ends up saving his life. When he is in the temple with the goblin-rat, he realizes how large it is and finds a small cabinet in which to sleep. It is this choice to obey that confusing advice that results in his escaping the goblin-rat and which allows his cats to come alive and kill it, saving the temple and the little boy in the process.

The Power of Art

The boy loves drawing cats, and he is said to have "the genius of the artist." The art that he creates, then, is a labor of love, and this seems to give it a kind of extraordinary power. After all, beings represented in art cannot really come to life and perform actions outside of the piece in which they are composed. However, art can be so affecting and evocative that it can feel as though it has life, and it can tangibly affect people, communities, and cultures.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access