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Comparisons of Tell-Tale Heart and the Black Cat

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sdp110776
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Edgar Allan Poe was an American Poet and short story writer who is best known for his dark and gothic writing style. Despite his stories have a mysteriously dark tone and often involving violence and death, Poe was able to write stories which keep the reader’s attention from start to finish. Great examples of this can been seen in two of his short stories: “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”. At first glance they seem to have very little in common however, after reading and looking more closely, you will notice that they share some striking similarities. In this paper I will illustrate how Poe’s stories “The Tell-Tale Heat” and “The Black Cat” share striking similarities in both meaning, content and ultimately justice. As stated above, both stories share elements of murder and insanity. Both stories are also told by first person narrators who are in prison after being caught for the murders they committed. In “The Black Cat” when the narrator kills his wife and conceals her body in the wall. Similarly, in “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator kills the old man and conceals his body under the floor boards. The question is, what was Poe’s preoccupation with hiding bodies within the structure of a house? Was Poe a former carpenter/brick layer, thus making him imagine concealing the bodies in this manner? Did Poe have delusions of his own about someone hiding a body within the home? Was he himself guilty of a heinous crime and used his writing as an admission of guilt? Another theme in both stories is the murder of seemingly innocent victims and the obsession leading to the murders. In “The Black Cat” the obsession is a cat named Pluto. Although the narrator originally had no problem with Pluto, he would eventually be driven to cut out Pluto’s eye because Pluto angered him and all because the cat loved him. The narrator could not stop obsessing over the eye he...

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