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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog 3: The Black Cat Critque

“The Black Cat”, a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe tells the tale of a troubled man who kills his beloved cat due to anger and alcohol. The short story does not ever tell the man’s name or his wife’s name. The only name we know is Pluto, his black cat. This story is gruesome and gritty. Being a huge cat lover it was very saddening to read about him hanging his cat, Pluto. It made me shake with fear and disgust, similar to his comment after the crime, “ I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity” (Poe 80.) Eventually he finds another black cat that he initially likes but then grows to hate and loath causing him to violently murder his wife. It never really is clear why he kills Pluto. The man was angry and drank a lot. His anger towards the Pluto made him drink more causing him to abruptly hang Pluto. Since no other reason was really provided, I assume that the man only hates the second cat because it reminds him of Pluto and because the cat smothers the man with attention and presence. He develops a connection to both cats so quickly but immediately finds a reason within himself to want to destroy the cats. He even blames his second cat for being the reason he murders his wife. “My next step was to look for the beast which had been the cause of so much wretchedness; for I had, at length, firmly resolved to put it to death. Had I been able to meet with it, at the moment, there could have been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the crafty animal had been alarmed of the violence of my previous anger, and forbore to present itself in my present mood” (Poe 84) This story could have been much longer and more developed. I felt confused to not know any names besides the first cat’s name. I also wanted to know more about his relationship with his wife and also his own reasons for his internal struggle, which made him so disturbed. The story itself is truly disgusting. This horrible man kills the loved ones around him for no good reason, which really made me frustrated. For that reason I would not recommend it to a friend. I cannot say I truly understand what makes this story an important piece of gothic literature other than the fact that it is written by the esteemed and gifted Edgar Allan Poe.

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