The BlackCat 2 - Edgar Allan Poes The Black Cat details the...

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Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat details the accounts of a deranged alcoholic who, although recognizing his weakness for drink, does not realize that his addiction has robbed him of his sanity. The first-person unreliable narrative purports to present the events leading to his current predicament, an imminent hanging for the murder of his wife, as purely factual; the narrator writes, “… in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.” On this score, the narrator fails miserably. In Poe’s The Black Cat, the first-person narrative serves to emphasize that in the mind of the insane, there is no distinction between fact and fantasy, and between normal and abnormal behavior. In the first few paragraphs of the story, the narrator attempts to justify his normalcy. He justifies his innate decency by claiming “From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition.” (p. 131) He elaborates on the essential goodness of his nature. “We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.” (132) Yet, in his attempt to portray himself as an animal lover, he reveals the perversity of his behavior. By any rational metric, one would consider having a domesticated monkey as a noteworthy issue, not a fact casually revealed in passing. Even before his horrific actions are recounted, such statements immediately raise in the doubts in the reader’s mind about the narrators veracity and mindset.

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