The Black Cat Essay

Submitted By maggiegasparik
Words: 1061
Pages: 5

“The Black Cat” is a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe. The narrator opens the story by saying how completely unbelievable the tale may sound, but he swears that he is sane himself. The narrator has always had a strong love for animals, but as a side affect of his alcohol abuse, turns to hatred. He adopts a black cat named Pluto, which he forms a very strong bond with. After a drunken night, the narrator cuts out Pluto’s eye. The cat then develops a fear and begins to avoid him. This angers the narrator further, so he decides to hang Pluto. One night, his house burns down and an apparition of Pluto appears. “I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and atrocity.” (Poe 2) This line says that his house only burnt down because of what his has done to his cat. While visiting his burnt down house, only one wall has continued to stand, this wall being the one where the headstand of his bed rests. There was an imprint of Pluto, the rope around his neck and all. The narrator believed that someone who watched his house burn down threw it up into his bedroom window, to alarm him of his burning house. This makes the narrator realize how much he misses his previous pet. He then finds a replica of Pluto, except this cat has a patch of white hair on it’s chest. After forming a bond with this cat, it takes a liking to the narrator’s wife as well. Again, he grows resentful of the cat and attempts to murder it with an axe. When he tried to perform this act, his wife stopped him. Out of anger, the narrator hit his wife with the axe and killed her. He then stuffed her dead body into the wall of his cellar. After the days of his wife’s murder, the black cat is nowhere to be found. The narrator is determined to find Pluto’s replica and finally murder it as well. He soon forgot about the cat and went along his days, until the police made an unexpected visit. Once in the cellar, a horrible noise is heard from inside the wall and the police find that something is trapped inside. After this ordeal, it is realized that the narrator penned this story from inside jail. He also begins to write the story on the eve of his death. In this tale, Poe creates the theory of “perverseness”, which is the desire to do the opposite of what is naturally good for ourselves. Poe blames perverseness on the cause of his deeds. (Gargano 172) “The Black Cat” is often associated with “The Tell-Tale Heart”, another short story by Poe, that deals with the same concepts. (Rachman 1) The narrator’s love for both his cat and his wife slowly develop into hatred by means of alcoholism which he has struggled with for most of his life. It is often debated whether or not the second cat is a figment of the narrator’s imagination. The second cat was never real, just imagined by the narrator. His addiction to alcohol is very closely associated with this second cat. The cat is found in a bar and when the narrator is drunk is when he becomes very irritated and spiteful of the cat. It is possible that the second cat represents his conscience and guiltiness after he hanged Pluto. The second cat was never given a name nor has anyone ever seen this cat. Once the second cat enters his life, he realizes the horrible thing he did to Pluto and begins to miss the cat. These two cats were almost identical, according to the narrator, the second cat was also missing an eye however the second cat did have a white patch of hair on it’s chest and Pluto did not. The white spot soon changed into a gallow, which was a device used to hang someone. While it is said that the wife grows fond of the second cat, she…