The Robert B. Miller College
John C. Rasmussen, Ed. D
October 29, 2012
Analysis of “The Black Cat”
“I neither expect nor solicit belief” explains that the narrator does not expect the reader to believe the story they’re about to read, because he finds it unbelievable himself which is evidenced by the excerpt “Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence.” With that being said the single effect of the story is alcohol induced insanity.
“The Black Cat” is a tale that deals with the ups, downs, and delusions of alcohol. The story is told in first person so the reader will get an intimate sense of the writer’s thoughts and feelings. The narrator at first appears to love his wife and pets, however by the end of the tale the narrator is delusional and despises his once beloved pet and its replacement. His alcoholism leads to madness and he hangs the first cat. This is succeeded by his house burning to the ground and his entire world of wealth with it. The narrator then “resigns himself henceforward to despair” this phrase shows him falling deeper into alcoholism and insanity. The narrator’s decent into insanity is further evident by the phrase, “when I first beheld this apparition- for I could scarcely regard it as less- my wonder and my terrors were extreme.” He continues for months that the phantasm of the cat haunted him. He then finds the second cat which is seemingly related to his alcoholism as he finds him among one of the taverns frequently visited for the purpose of intoxication. He soon finds aversion for the cat. The narrator then speaks of how he feels the cat is out to get him, as shown by the statement, “I am almost ashamed to own that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimeras it would be possible to conceive”
The narrator story continues with him and his wife...