Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Black Cat Critique
I typically am very open to all kinds of literature and enjoy reading in general. The last book I read and didn’t like was middle school’s Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I brushed it off, telling myself that I didn’t truly grasp what the author was trying to convey. I couldn’t get past being unable to pronounce the names, the super futuristic backdrop, and violence. This being said, it’s been over 5 years since I have been assigned to read a work of literature that I have greatly disliked. This was true until I read “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe. I disliked it so greatly, that on a scale of one to five, I would rate it as a two.
I will begin off by stating that I have read few pieces by Poe, I’ve read his gore, intrusive darkness, and obscure supernatural and have come to expect such literature laced with a little- or a lot of each from him. “The Black Cat”, however meeting all of his normal traits and styles of writing, made me cringe and honestly turned me off- it was almost too difficult to continue to read its entirety. Perhaps it is because I have a cat, and reading in great detail about the narrator maliciously carving out his beloved Pluto’s eye made my toes curl. “My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin- nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!” (Poe) After, and even while I was reading this shot story, I instantly thought back to my own cat and how devastated I would be if something of the sort happened to her. Cruelty to animals is one thing that I truly detest, so further reading that the narrator proceeded to hang his cat, which he once held so dear to him truly disgusted me. “One morning, in cold blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree.” (Poe)
I gave this story a rating of a two and not a one for one sole reason; “The Black Cat” truly spooked me. I never have never read a piece of literature that truly haunted nor shook me the way this one did. It is for this reason that I felt the short story was successful. Perhaps I was stunned that a piece of literature was able to really move me in an angry way, or perhaps it was that I found the piece too gruesome. Although I truly have an utmost respect for all authors who can stand the test of time to be considered a major name in any literary genre, I did not particularly enjoy reading Poe’s “The Black Cat”.