The Black Cat Analysis

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Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Black Cat immerses the reader into the mind of a murdering alcoholic. Poe himself suffered from alcoholism and often showed erratic behavior with violent outburst. Poe is famous for his American Gothic horror tales such as the Tell-Tale Heart and the Fall of the House of Usher. “The Black Cat is Poe’s second psychological study of domestic violence and guilt. He added a new element to aid in evoking the dark side of the narrator, and that is the supernatural world.” (Womack). Poe uses many of the American Gothic characteristics such as emotional intensity, superstition, extremes in violence, the focus on a certain object and foreshadowing lead the reader through a series of events that are horrifying and grotesque. “The Black Cat is one of the most powerful of Poe’s stories, and the horror stops short of the wavering line of disgust” (Quinn). The story is told through the subjective viewpoint of the narrator who begins by telling the reader he is writing this narrative to unburden his soul because he will die tomorrow. The events that brought him to this place in time have “…terrified, tortured and destroyed him” (Poe). This sets a suspenseful tone for the story. He blames the Fiend Intemperance for the alteration of his personality. He went from a very docile, tenderhearted man who loved his pets and wife to a violent man who inflicted this ill temperament on the very things he loves. The final break from the man that he once was, is the “…spirit of PERVERSENESS” (Poe 514). He describes this as doing something wrong because you know it is wrong. Evil consumes his every thought and he soon develops a hatred for everything. “Speaking through his narrators," Poe illustrates perversit... ... middle of paper ... the hands of his master. The mutilation of its eye, hanging it to death from a tree and killing his wife, which had shown the cat love. There are two interpretations you can take away from this story, the logic of guilt or supernatural fantasy. Which conclusion will you take? Works Cited Grantz, David. Qrisse's Edgar Allan Poe Pages, The Poe Decoder. 20 April 2001. Web site. 17 November 2013. Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Black Cat." Leonard, George McMichael and James S. Concise Anthology of American Literature. Pearson Education, Inc., 2011. 512-518. Short Story. Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1941. Internet. Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991. book. Womack, Martha. Precisely Poe. 1997. web site. 17 November 2013.
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