The Black Cat - Abnormal Madness

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The Black Cat - Abnormal Madness It seems that almost every Edgar Allen Poe story ever written has a much deeper and darker meaning hidden inside its lines. Many of these pieces are demented enough even if the reader does not read "between the lines." "The Black Cat" is an example of this kind of story. In this morbid look into the narrator's mind, the reader follows the narrator as he does many disturbing things in his household. This story, like many of Poe's other pieces, is a venture into abnormal psychology where the narrator is completely insane, not only because of the horrible things he does to his cat and his wife, but because of his state of mind that he shows the reader throughout the story. At the beginning of the story, the narrator makes the writing out to be "plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events" (p. 1495). As the story progresses, the reader finds out that this is > clearly not at all the case. The events within the text of this account are unmistakably the ramblings of a madman who cannot seem to control his actions and keeps drifting deeper and deeper into insanity. In the first paragraph of the story, the narrator begins to defend himself by saying that he is not mad. This definitely seems like he is trying to reassure himself more than the reader of his state of mind. This seems to be Poe's way of gradually easing into showing the reader that this story is, in fact, an exploration into the abnormal psychology of the human mind. The narrator says that from his childhood, he has been considered a very docile person. He also mentions in the first part of the story that his "My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions" (p. 1495). At the point in the story when he says all this, it seems fairly feasible. However, as the reader goes on to read, the rest of the story, they find out that this is not the narrator's present demeanor in the least. Just from seeing what is obvious about the narrator and not even reading deeper into his mindset, the reader can gather that the man is probably not a reliable source for correct information.

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