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THE BLACK CAT

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THE BLACK CAT


The plot:


In the beginning the narrator gives us a little exation about the story that he is going to tell. He says that these events have terrified, and destroyed him. The day after he is going to die and that day he would unburthen his soul, and make a confession.

Since he was childe he was noted for the docility and humanity, and he liked very much animals, and with them he spent most of his time. He and his wife had birds, gold fishes, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey and a black cat called Pluto. The cat was his favourite pet and playmate. Their friendship lasted for several years, during which the narrator's character changed, he became moody and irritable and he used intemperate language to his wife, he made non scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey or the dog. The cause for this radical change was the alcohol. One night, returning home much intoxicated, he thought that the cat avoided his presence, he seized it violently, then Pluto inflicted a slight wound upon his hand. He cut one of its eyes from the socket with a pen-knife. Afterwards he felt into horror and remorse he continued the drink wine.



Then came the spirit of Perverseness (he did stupid or terrible things simply because he knew that he should not do them). This was one of the primitive impulses of the human heart.

One morning he put a noose about its neck and hung it. On the night of this day, he woke up by the cry of the fire. The house was in flames, the destruction was complete. The next day he visited the home; the walls, except one, had fallen. It was the one against which had rested the narrator's bed. Upon this wall there was the ure of a giant cat with a rope about the animal's neck. He tried to find logical reasons, he thought that some chemical reactions could have made the image. One night, in a bar, he found a black cat very similar to Pluto, but he had a splotch of white on the breast. He took it home, and firstly he was happy, than began to disgust it and the disgust became hate. His hate grew when he discovered that the cat had not an eye, like Pluto. It followed always him, and the more it followed him, and the more he hated it. He was not able to rest. He became to hate all things and all humanity. His wife began to be his victim: he tried to kill it but he was stopped by his wife; this created in him an always deeply rage that made he kills his wife. He decided to wall her body up in the cellar. Then he searched the cat, in order to kill it; but he didn't found it. He felt for the first time satisfied, his happiness was supreme, and he was able to sleep: he was happy. The fourth day policemen came into the house that checked the house, and they found nothing. He was such happy that he made them notice how were the house well built, and he touch the wall where the wife was hidden, and screams, cries of children and mewing go out. The policemen go to the wall and this falls with the body and on it stayed the cat with the solitary eye.



The themes:


This story has been written by Edgard Allan Poe (1809/1849), an American author that belongs to the black genre. This genre was born in England in the second half of the 18 century. It is called also gothic for its dark medial setting, that could be considered like a reaction to the too rational behaviour of the enlightment. The themes of this genre deal with the blood, events dealing with tangles and revenges, ghosts, vampires, and monsters. The settings are dark prisons and lonely places.


In this story plays a fundamental role the madness, because not only the story is unreal, but also the narrator refers always to it "Mad indeed would I be.." or "Mad am I not.." He contradicts his self when he says not to be mad but to have an excitable intellect, and not to be dreaming but to be prey of phantasms.



There's also the theme of the domesticity: the story is supernatural, but it's also domestic; if the narrator is prey to phantasms, for others it can have a logical exation and deals with common places. Finding the them of madness together with the domesticity gives to the text a particular character.


What attract the most is the mix between horror and daylyness. Usually happens that a character has to be in an horror place to make that something different happens. Here the frightening born by a "series of mere household events" and in "common-places".



Poe uses also the suspance technique, that's a modern technique: he says immediately that the events will be incomprehensible, horrible and frightening, but not announcing in advance the gist of the speech, he introduces us in the atmosphere, attracting our curiosity.



Finally the theme of horror, that covers all the narration atmosphere: the reader is in front of a strange character that has spent an horrible and sinful adventure (infact he talks about a necessity of unburthen the soul)




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