Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Black Cat Essay

The Black Cat Essay

I chose Edgar Allen Poe's short story The Black Cat. The revisions I made are at the ending of this story because it seemed very similar to another one of Poe's works. "The Cask of Amontillado" mimics "The Black Cat" because the main character kills the other person and places the body behind a brick wall.

The central issues of the story are both internal and external conflicts. The internal conflict is between the man and his subconscious and the constant idea that he is fighting to kill the cats. Poe shows us the man's conflict through, "I knew myself no longer" (131). It is almost as if the man has ashamed himself and is unhappy with what he has become.

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The immense fear and hatred of the cats has encompassed all of his thoughts. The man also has external conflicts with both of the cats, "I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it; but gradually- very gradually- I came to look upon it with utterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of a pestilence" (133). Poe lets us read what he is thinking here because he wants us to see how bad the cats enrage the man.

The meaning of the story is that everything you do comes back to you in the future. Poe expresses the meaning of the story through point of view, "The fury of the demon instantly possessed me" (131). Poe shows us in this quote that the evil that the man had seen in the cat, now started to flow throughout his own body. This malevolence he began to feel, ultimately led the man to kill his wife and finally to die himself. Poe uses first person point of view to let the reader hear and see what the man is thinking.

Characterization in the story gives the reader an idea of how crazy the man is. The character of the man is shown to almost seem bipolar possibly allowing Poe to parallel himself in the story. It seems odd that in one second the man likes that the cat is avoiding his presence for once, but in the next he is infuriated by the cat's rudeness. Later Poe refers to the man's hunt for a companion, "Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search" (133). In the following paragraph Poe reveals to the reader "For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me" (133). The man cannot make up his mind whether or not he wants the cats attention. In one moment he wants a friend and a cohort, but in the next sentence he is overcome by fits of rage and wanting to kill the cats.

I made the piece different by adding an alternate twist to the ending. I picked the ending of the story, because it had many possibilities and variations that I could work with. Basically what ever came to my mind could work as long as it stayed with the theme of many of Poe's works, weird. I think that my addition to the story works with and against Poe's work. It works with his story because I tried to make the man still seem crazy, "I know you are here. I know you are trying to hide, you are not getting away this time. I will just finish what I have wanted to do the whole time. I will finish you off like I did Pluto." My work changes Poe's story because his ending makes the reader think about what has happened where mine only lets the reader see that the man's mind has driven him to death. Another thing I added was gory detail to stay true to Poe's style, "I stared at the axe stuck in her skull and watched as the blood poured onto the basement floor. As I looked at her limp body steadily taking on the cold dampness of the cellar floor, the obsessive passion to kill the cat took over my body and mind." I made there be a twist as the end so that the only thing the man was thinking of, was that the cat had finally gotten him. "He got me back, Pluto finally got me." Poe's work tends to make you think that in the end the cat got the man back, but in my story the man just beats himself.

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