Point Of View In Edgar Allen Poe's The Black Cat

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Famous American short story writer Edgar Allen Poe uses point of view effectively in “The Black Cat.” “The Black Cat” was first published in the United Sates Saturday Post on August 19, 1843(Obaid). The narrator of the short story is in jail waiting to be executed the next day, and he wants to set the story straight on the crime that propelled him there. The narrator and his wife love pets and have a black cat named Pluto, but one night the drunk narrator digs the cat’s eyes out and hangs the cat on a tree soon later. That night the narrator’s house burned down, and he saw on an image of Pluto on a wall with gallows around its neck. Much later after they get a new house, the narrator sees a cat who looks like Pluto on the street and takes him …show more content…
Poe uses this first-person point of view to “probe the working of the narrator’s psyche” and mentality(Edgar 2750). One scholar states the “narrator’s mind acts as a distorting prism, casting reality into forms which satisfy his self-image, his need for self-justification, and his desire to abrogate responsibility for his actions”(Reeder). “The Black Cat” is told through a “homicidal maniac,” “crazed narrator,” “unstable alcoholic,” and an “obsessed criminal”(Johnson 1, 55, Snodgrass, Edgar 2755). Scholars agree that the “murderer is afflicted with a mania called perverseness” that drives “the soul to commit sin because it is sin”(Voss 53, Graham). “The guilt obsessed narrator is possessed by a profound self-destructive impulse just as Poe was”(Johnson 28). The narrator’s “irrational urge to kill proceeds out of an inborn sense of fear and blends into the urge to suicide”(Graham). The narrator, afflicted with the spirit of perverseness, is also an obsessive talker with a need to tell of his crimes(Johnson 89). When the narrator takes in his second cat, his fondness for it “turned to annoyance and eventually into hatred;” he even kills his wife “in one insane paroxysm” because she tries to stop him(Bloom 48, Johnson 59). Bloom claims “The narrator becomes overcome by evil …show more content…
In this story the narrator is “seeking to defend his rationality but ends up revealing his partial insanity instead”(Johnson 67). “We can define the narrator as morally insane by Prichard’s classification” that if the feelings, temper, and moral disposition are perverse but his intellect remains sharp, he is insane(Bloom 49). There is “no doubt that the narrator goes mad; it is the question of when and how(Bloom 50). One scholar argues that this moment “marked by gouging out the cat’s eyes”(Bloom 47). Another scholar claims that the narrator is “not to be blamed because he is the victim of psychological abnormalities”(Johnson 54). “The narrator’s sanity declines as his chances of getting away with his crime increase” and as the story goes on; however, the narrator must tell the story “to unburden his soul” and to try to prove his sanity(Bloom 55). The narrator “justifies his perverse actions by focusing on the evil of the cat”(Bloom 49). He “denounces the cat as the cause of his wife’s murder even after the police have discovered the truth”(Bloom 50). “The narrator also claims that he is same and that his mental disposition is vexed only because of the effects of alcohol;” he tries to push the blame off himself(Bloom 48). The narrator claims he “knew himself no longer while drunk and in a rage and that his soul had left his body so the madness he

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