“The black cat” is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. Although it contains a few poetic elements, such as imagery and poetic language, it is formatted like a short story with no rhyme or rhythm. It contains many defining characteristics of a work of Poe. Besides being a “disturbing” tale like many others, he doesn’t give much information about the main character. Not even a name is mentioned. Nonetheless, it is easy for the reader to notice the man’s personality. The story is basically about a drinking man who makes rash decisions.
He came home one night after drinking, and was very bothered by his cat, so he cut its eye out. He felt little guilt, and continued to live life. But his cat’s eye healed, and it bothered the man just as much as before. He then made the choice to hang it on a noose. That night, his house burned down. He and his wife moved into a different home, and after living there only a short while, the man saw a black cat that looked very similar to the one that he killed. His wife was infatuated by it, and decided to keep it. He was just as bothered by this cat as the old one, however, but his guilt kept him from hurting it. After a while he could take it no longer. He drew back his axe to strike the cat, but his wife stopped him. Without even thinking about it, he split her skull. He then hid the body in the wall of the basement and plastered it over. It blended in perfectly. The man, not even shaken slightly, waited to take his revenge on the cat, but it never showed up. Four days later, a police party came over to search. Upon searching in the basement, they heard the cat’s “meow” coming from the wall and discovered the body.
The Black Cat is written in the first person perspective, as are the majority of Poe’s short stories. The tone of the poem is very dark throughout the story. It is full of unwarranted abuse and murder, and the man’s personality remains the same from beginning to end. The tension is displayed between the man and his cat, and it is not resolved in the end. The police caught the man, but the hatred for his cat still exists.
As always with Poe, the word choice was very well chosen. The words – the adjectives in particular – added depth to the story, and also created a sense of darkness. There is no rhythm in the words, nor is there rhyme. This is not a poem, it is a short story.
Imagery was used very well in this story. While reading, connections are made with word pictures, and the reader is sucked into the story.
Lastly, there is no unique structure at all. The story is simply broken up into paragraphs of variant length. Because it is a short story and not a poem, the content is not broken up into stanzas, and there is no rhyme scheme. There is simply a deep, dark character and plot.