“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe

“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe is a truly scary story – and gruesome, too.  I shouldn’t be surprised as I’ve read other short stories by Poe – but even for a Poe story, it was shocking.  At the beginning, the narrator describes the story he’s going to tell as a “series of mere household events.”  This could perhaps be the epitome of understatement.

One of the brilliant aspects of the story revolves around the title and the role of the black cats.  I kept waiting for the cats to speak like Linda Blair in The Exorcist or to at least spin their heads all the way around.  For the most part, the cats just remained cats – with only a slight implication that they may have more than just feline ambitions in their relationship with their master (the narrator).  This makes the actions of the narrator that much more surprising and shocking…and just downright scary.

With this kind of story, it’s difficult to say too much without giving away the best (or scariest) parts.  I still consider “The Cask of Amontillado” my favorite Poe story and from a literary standpoint, it probably outranks “The Black Cat”; however, “The Black Cat” has become a new Halloween favorite.

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2 responses to ““The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe

  1. Hi Dale,

    This was one of my favorite Poe stories also. My “Great Books Foundation” discussion group read it back in February. I posted about it only in passing (http://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/back-on-schedule-with-my-short-story-reading/ )
    but would have liked to go more in depth. As you say, though, it’s hard to do for this story without giving too much away.

    Have you read Poe’s story “William Wilson” yet? I read it for the first time this year and consider it also to be a masterpiece.

    -Jay

    • “William Wilson” is in a collection I have called “Stories and Poems for Highly Intelligent Children of All Ages”. I was going to put it on my 2013 Deal Me In list, but I think I might read it this year. I’ve pretty much got my list put together. I’m waiting until closer to the end of the year to post it. Maybe I’ll post it sooner.

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