05 February 2013
Vivid Imagery of “The Black Cat”
The use of vivid imagery in “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most fascinating aspects of this story to me. Poe shapes the mood of suspense using language, symbols, and the supernatural in such a dark and intriguing way. These three things create a sense of foreshadowing, which helps set the stage for the reader and navigates the path from one shocking event to the next. Poe’s use of these three literary techniques that incorporate an added twist as the narrator hopes that the reader, like himself, will be convinced that these events were not "...an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects" (Poe, 695). The reader becomes aware that the events are not exactly "...an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects” (Poe, 695) as Poe begins to use language and punctuation to create tension even though the narrator at times describes horrific events with a strange, detached manner. Poe uses language that is confronting, startling, and at times even disturbing. The narrator focuses on explaining his story very logically and avoids great emotion, as if to convince the reader that he is sane. When his house burns down, he simply says, "My entire worldly wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thence-forth to despair" (Poe, 697). After the narrator kills his wife, he looks for the cat and says, "...I had, at length, firmly resolved to put it to death" (Poe, 700). Foerster explains Poe’s use of language to create suspense as almost a mathematical way of writing. The result is preordained by the author, but is gradually laid out for the reader by a series of steps. “By division of the subject, by subtraction of the irrelevant elements, by enumeration of details patiently added to yield a sum or climax, by a multiplication of subordinate sums leading to the ultimate effect, the artist’s logical powers could so...