The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe

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The Black Cat is a beautifully written tale which was originally printed in the August 19, 1843 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.

The story opens with the narrator explaining a little about himself and his life, how he had gone from a gentle, animal loving person to an irritable, alcoholic brute. It tells of how he would get less and less patient with his wife and animals over time often shouting at them and kicking the animals out of his way. He explains that the only animal to escape his wrath was his favourite, a cat named Pluto.

Unfortunately over time even this cat cannot escape him and one night he brings intentional harm to the animal.

Whilst the story is only short, it conveys brilliant imagery and gets to it’s point without losing anything. I think very often with short stories, authors can try to put too much into them and in doing so lose something along the way and this is definitely not like that at all.

I think anybody would be uncomfortable with what happens to the animals in this story, however Poe does not relish in the gory details and tells us only what we need to know in order to understand.

Eventually the man finds another cat which reminds him of his lost companion and brings it home, he is however disturbed by this animal as well.

I won’t tell you everything that happens in the story because I think this story is especially worth reading. Poe is one of literature’s greats and it would be shame not to sample his words. The story is very short and can be read in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea or coffee.

It is very different to the films I’ve seen. In both of the Black Cat films I’ve seen there have been love affairs within the marriage either on the wife’s part or in the case of “Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key” (1972) both the husband and wife have sexual encounters. There is none of that in the original story, it is kept simple and as the title suggests is very much about the cat, whereas the films seem to have the cat in the background.

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