Essay on Edgar Allan Poe 's The Black Cat

1218 Words Oct 1st, 2015 null Page
Human beings have long sought to discover deeper meaning to the things that our reality has surrounded us with. The philosopher and scientist alike seek greater clarity and understanding in all things both material and immaterial; it is this somewhat stubborn proclivity that drives many critics of literature to perhaps look deeper than needed into their readings of texts to reveal meanings and themes that may actually just be projections of their own transposed to the work. This may be the case in regards to historicist readings of Edgar Allan Poe. While the biographical and sociological influences of a particular work are no doubt intriguing and valid, in the case of Poe’s “The Black Cat,” they seem to walk a thin line between illuminating a framework for social commentary (race, sexism, intemperance) and obscuring Poe’s own practices and philosophies in regards to storytelling. Poe’s body of work is far more focused upon effect than it is in allegorizing. If we pull back and examine the tale for what it provides on its own, if we look at the story’s key elements such as the domesticity, the cat, and the implication of the supernatural at face value, the story veers away from allegory and instead becomes an exercise in utilizing familiar hallmarks of gothic fiction and injecting them into the domestic sphere for the sake of effect. Taking any allegorical intent, whether conscious or unconscious, out of “The Black Cat,” and instead concentrating on effect, distances the…

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