The narrator was seized by “a new anxiety” that “the sound would be heard by a neighbor!” (Poe, “Tell-Tale” 447). He is referring to the ticking sound of the old man’s heartbeat that he can’t seem to escape. The beating of the old mans heart “increased [his] fury”, for every beat, or tick sound from a clock was a moment of time that brings one close to death (May).
The narrator in “The Black Cat” also has subconscious fears of his victims. He is plagued by anxiety, but mistakenly associates that anxious feeling with an object, as we do with fear. He believes he can escape his fear by destroying the object, or the cats in his case (Badenhausen). After his first crime of cutting out Pluto’s eye, he feels a “sentiment half of horror, half of remorse”, and after having hanged that same cat and seeing its shadow on the wall of his burnt house, he feels “wonder and…terror” (Badenhausen). The narrator thinks that his fear will be relieved after harming the cat, but instead it just augments his horror.
After leaving his destroyed house, he and his wife find another cat that looks just like Pluto, except that it has a white patch of fur on its chest. This cat frightens the narrator even more because “like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes” (Poe, “Black” 51). At first the patch of white fur on the cat’s chest did not appear to have any definite shape, but “it was now the representation of an object that