Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat”

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In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” Afracanist presence as defined by Toni Morrison asserts itself through the narrator while transforming him from a tender kindhearted person into one who allows perverseness to take over. This type of presence allows the reader to witness the dark undertone and the hidden messages that lie within the text. In order to effectively show the narrators transformation and how his actions allow Afracanist presence to be presented, Poe uses two cats, one of which is completely black while the other resembles the first but instead has white fur covering the region of its breast. As the narrator refuses to take responsibility for his actions, Afracanist presence allows the two cats to extract from the narrator’s his true self-image. The presence of the two cats in the tale allows the narrator to see himself for who he truly is. In the beginning the narrator explains that his “tenderness of heart made him the jest of his companions”. (251) He also speaks of his love for animals that has remained with him from childhood into manhood. However, Poe contradicts this description of the narrator when he seems to become annoyed with the cat that he claims to love so much. While under the influence of alcohol the narrator is “fancied that the cat avoided his presence”(250) and as a result decides to brutally attack the cat. This black cat symbolizes the cruelty received by slaves from whites. The narrator not only “deliberately cuts one of the cats eyes from the sockets” (250) but he also goes on to hang the cat. Once the narrator successfully hangs the cat the tale begins to take a very dark and gothic-like turn. The racism and guilt of the narrator continues to haunt him once he has killed the black cat. Th... ... middle of paper ... wife and hides her body he does not own up to his actions but instead blames the cat as the one “which had been the cause of so much wretchedness”. (254) The narrator even after he thought he had successfully hides his wife’s body and causes the cat to flee, still refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. He does this in order to protect himself however; the one eye cat continues to secretly haunt him. He thought that the cat had “been alarmed at the violence of his previous anger” (254) and decided not to show up, meanwhile, the cat was just leading the way for justice to enter. The black cat (symbolizing slaves) that was murdered in the beginning now receives justice at the end of the tale when the white narrator is taken by the police and sentenced to death. So is it safe to say that the fate of the white man lies in the hands of the ones he abuses?
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