The Balck Cat Edgar Allan Poe
The genre of the story is narrative that is it is a narration from the behalf of the author, where the storyteller is the author himself. In the beginning of the story the author explains that as a child he always had a passion for animals as a result f which he was allowed to have a great variety of pets. In his marriage he was happy to find that his wife observed his passion for domestic pets and agreed to have them. They had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat, a large black cat named Pluto.Pluto was the author’s favorite out of all the animals.
Their friendship lasted for several years until the author’s temperament and character took a turn for the worse due to the drinking here he started to maltreat his animals ad moreover started to “offer his wife personal violence”. But he did not touch Pluto until the day when he returned home drunk and saw that Pluto was avoiding him as well. This was the end of all that as he simply became very angry, found a noose, hung Pluto to a tree and killed him. After getting out of under the alcohol the author felt very guilty for what he had done to Pluto.The night after this deed the house was in flame. The author, his wife, and a servant were all that escaped the fire. The next day when he returns to his house he finds an image of a gigantic cat on a white wall.
Some time later being scared of the image and guilty he goes and gets another Black Cat to take the place of Pluto. However he was not extremely fond of this Black Cat. One day he and his wife are doing the home errands and the cat follows them all the time which annoys the author and the later takes an axe to kill it.His wife then takes the axe from his hand in order to prevent the author to do so, to which the author kills his wife and the cat as well. He then takes both of them and hinds them in a hole in the wall. A couple days after some detectives come to search the house. As they are coming down the stairs about to leave they hear the cat meowing when they follow the sound they come up to the wall where the author has hidden his wife and the BALCK CAT.
The purpose of the story is to show the reader the reason of the murder.Somehow the author tries to justify what he has done by giving the reader his childhood information: From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the rest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was as happy as when feeding and caressing them. Moreover he burdens his fault on the ALCHOHOL: But my disease grew upon me — for what disease is like Alcohol!The main language use is persuasive and mostly it is done by trying to present the author as a person who regretted about something. The language used in the text is more or less formal and a bit outdated, such words as atrocity or docility can hardly be found in everyday speech.
One can conclude that the confession was written for the higher courts and not for ordinary people. Why we can claim this? This is due to the language choice. At least this is my personal opinion. Well it all came from the non-every day usable words that are found in the text, like atrocity, blazing, docility, gratification, etc.All these words and many others founding the text may be of no value to common people but to the courts… When talking about the story it would be to the point to start analyzing it from the very heading. THE BLACK CAT. Do you feel shiver coming up your back when simply pronouncing this three words? Cats are usually not welcomed animals in the stories and moreover a black cat according to all well known superstition is the symbol of misfortune as if it crosses your way a misfortune is sure to happen to you.
Another fact that I would like to mention here is the name of the cat Pluto.This name can be found in Roman mythology as the God of the underworld. Pluto the cat, thus, seems to symbolize death to the narrator. Somehow the fact that the author gave the cat the name Pluto may seem a bit ironic as that would show that from the very beginning he didn’t like the cat be that at least subconsciously. When talking about a story it would be wrong from my behalf not to talk about its structure. The thing here is that even being set in chronological order; the reader somehow feels going back and forth all the time, recalling every detail from the beginning latter from the end.That is for example the person starts his confession saying that he was going to die in a few days right after which he turns his attention to the fact of his childhood and only after that he starts to tell the story “from the beginning”.
So even though the reader knows the about the end of the story he goes on with the reading. As the beginning is effective one indeed: For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence.Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die and to-day I would unburden my soul. The author himself points out the chronological order he was going to tell the story: My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. Another important fact about the story is that it all is told from the first person point of view.
From how the author saw everything, not giving any details about the thoughts of the wife, the policemen or the cat.The thing that is distinguishing in Poe’s works is that he almost always tells his stories from the first person prospective and never indicates who that first person is. The use of too many “I”s somehow make the impression that the teller he himself believes all that he has claimed in the story, and somehow it tries to persuade the listener or reader that his point is justified. The whole story is somehow told in the same mood, dull, boring and somehow preparing the reader to something mysterious or something evil.This of course is achieved gradually and through the chronological order of the events. Somewhere in the text the author changes his tone from self protecting to cynical irony. It is revealed in the part when he describes how he killed the “poor beast.
Firstly the poor beast himself is an irony case, as the beast can never be poor and moreover since when the cat is considered a beast? How can a person call a murder a silly action? At least a person in his normal senses would never do so. After the narrator cuts out Pluto’s eye, the cat sees better–figuratively.Previously, the cat loved and trusted the narrator, following him around, climbing into his lap, and licking his hands. But after the cat loses an eye, it sees the narrator for what he is–an unpredictable, dangerous man. It gains insight that it lacked before. ”The unique style of the text is mostly achieved by the non slandered word orders Such as: It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets, or I knew myself no longer or No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb!And some other sentences in the story are purposefully mixed word order sentences that intrigue the reader’s attention and keep them in a bit more alerted and waiting position. From the key factors are the rhetorical questions in unuttered represented speech.
The two sentences are “Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? Inversions occupy a great part in the story as they make the story more ancient like and more emphatic. How do you think would sound the sentence Mad indeed would I be to expect it…” if it was written “I would be indeed mad to expect it…” I being a reader would be impressed with the first variant. Or which one would seem more emphatic the “And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity” or “And now I was indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity”.You know why the author uses this very stylistic means often to make the reader or the listener pity him a bit. That is if he used the sentences like “I would be indeed mad to expect it…” or “And now I was indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity” they would seem to ordinary to pay attention to words and moreover dwell into the so mysterious world of the author, but when we say “Mad indeed would I be to expect it…” and/or “And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity” we not only see the world of the author, but feel it as well.Right now I would like to comment on a few of the other stylistic devices that I came across when reading the passage. The first one is the Litotes that is the use of negative constructions.
The main idea of Litotes coincide with the well known mathematical rule two minuses give plus. For example in the text we can come across to following phrase “not uncongenial” which shows that the person was congenial indeed or another case of the Litotes “left no nook or corner unexplored” that is they explored every corner in the house.For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen… here wild and homely are objectively contrasting pairs. They diplay certain features which may be considered antonymical. That is they represent antitheses. The next case that I came across I would put in the same category thought they are different variations of one and the same phenomenon is the repetitions and parallel constructions.Here are a few examples from the text: “In their consequences, these events have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me” the repetition occurs on the level of grammatical usage, “…I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; — hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; — hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; — hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin…” The story in general is very rich in repetitions which set the persuasive effect on the listener or reader.
That is repetitions are usually meant to persuade one person that your point is better than his or her. Another case occurring every second is hyperboles, that is the so called exaggerations that sometimes sound ridiculous to the ear. For example when talking about his fears the author uses the following phrase “extreme terror” which shows the real degree of his terror.Another time we come across the hyperbole is when the author tries to describe the cat. Such hyperboles are found in that very passage “remarkably large” and “astonishing degree” So to simply sum up the story I would like to say that the story itself is very rich in Stylistics Devises and Expressive Means and to analyze them one by one turn out to be a huge thesis paper and not a short analysis of the story.