The essay titled “Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Séverin” by Robert Darnton discusses a massacre of cats that, according to the worker Nicolas Contat, took place in Paris in the first half of the 1700s. Contat’s writes about two apprentices, Jerome and Léveille. They had poor living conditions, were given food scraps to eat, and they had to deal with the master and their superiors. On top of all this, during the night stray cats would howl, keeping them awake. One day Léveille decided to crawl along the roof until he got near the master’s bedroom and began to howl with the cats. The aster and his wife became convinced that they were being bewitched and ordered the apprentices to get rid of the cats. They chased cats of rooftops, hit them with iron bars, and trapped them in sacks. They also performed mock trials where the rest of the workshop would join in and hang the cats with a noose. Although to us this seems like a horrific act of violence, the workers turned it into a celebration. These different views of the same event exist because of the different societies. The hatred these workers had for the bourgeois, popular celebrations, and the things that cats symbolized all contributed to the humor of the cat massacre. We must first understand these to be able to understand the cat massacre.
poked out by the narrator is symbolic of the narrator not wanting the cat to get a clear perception of his evil heart. Then suddenly on one morning the narrator hung black cat one by a noose from a tree. The hanging of the first black cat is symbolic of the narrator’s
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” follows the unnamed main character as he slowly devolves into madness brought about by his severe alcoholism and subsequent bizarre abhorrence of cats. The narrator starts as a kind and loving person but by the end of the story is a violent and remorseless deviant. Throughout the story it is apparent that the narrator is drifting further and further from reality. As his drinking worsens, the narrator finds himself becoming increasingly violent, irrational and depraved.
The storyteller begins the story by stating from an early age he has had an obsession with animals. Poe states, “This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and, in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure.” (Poe) This statement is evidence of the insanity the narrator experienced at a very young age. He goes on to explain that he and his wife have many domesticated animals, including Pluto, a large beautiful black cat. He describes the mutual fondness between him and the cat. This relationship between him and the cat, is strange. For years they have a growing friendship, until he started drinking alcohol in excess. The narrator goes on to explain how one night after getting completely intoxicated, the cat panicked and bit him. This causes the author to become angry and in a psychotic fit of rage, he takes a knife and cuts out one of the cat’s eyes. After this encounter, the cat fears him, and tries to avoid him at all cost. In the beginning, the storyteller is regretful and feels remorseful for the cruelty. But soon we see the narrator’s insanity expressed when Poe states, “But this feeling soon gave place
When he, his wife and a servant escaped from the house, all of his worldly possessions burned in front of his very own eyes. The following day, he visited the ruins and saw that one wall did not cave in. On the wall, he saw a great imprint of a gigantic cat with a rope around its neck. This brought the narrator to believe that during the fire, someone threw the cat inside one of the houses windows when the house was on fire. Since the cellar was made of concrete, it was not destroyed and they decided to live there. After some time, they find another cat with a splotch of white on his chest. They decide to adopt him and bring him home. This cat followed the narrator everywhere and everywhere. This eventually angered the narrator again. When he was in the cellar with his wife the cat made him trip and he was about to kill the cat with a fatal blow with an axe, until his wife stepped in the middle and the axe slammed into her skull, oozing of blood and killing her instantly. He decides to put her body in one of the walls of the cellar, like the monks of the middle ages did. For the next three days he does not see the cat. So he ends up thinking that he is finally a free man. When the police arrive on the 4th day, they check all the nooks and crannies in the room, and they do not see any evidence of a murder. When they are about to leave though, the narrator starts to brag about how well his house is constructed. When he taps the part of the wall where
Fixing his eyes on the place where the light had shone down he searched for stars, clouds, the slightest hint of moonlight, yet found nothing, and shutting his eyes again, resolved to sleep until daylight. Before the numbness could swallow him, a crawling sensation on his right calf alerted him to the presence of some creature lurking there, a small animal with strength, insect or lizard. With a simultaneous kick of his right foot and flail of his left arm, he managed to smack it off, then laid as still as possible till the fire in his bones subsided. Sleep overtook him, smiling in the dark. He could
Breathless, Alex ran through the forest. It was twilight, normally his favorite time of day, but this golden hour took on a malicious tone. These woods were full of weeds, slippery moss covered stones , and twisted, thorny vines. Alex’s foot caught on a snarled root, and he tumbled onto the cold dirt. Alex sensed something was amiss, and he knew The Beast was growing ever nearer. As Alex lay sprawled on the forest floor, a single thought ran through his mind. “I’m done.” with the will to live draining from him. Alex lay still in the dirt and leaves resting for his last time. The soreness in his legs was so unbearable he wanted the release of death; craved for it even. “Thump”....... “Thump” The Beast's feet approached slowly and
They both decided they were far enough out in the middle of nowhere to set up a small camp for the night. Mildred made a small and not so comfy bed, while Montag kindled a fire that wouldn't bring to much attention in the woods. Both falling asleep quickly, Montag heard the sound of a stick snapping in half. Flinging up off the ground onto his feet, he heard the sound of leaves crunching in the distance. Walking around behind a tree, small hands grabbed his arm and pulled him behind a berry bush. Turning quickly, Montag saw a pale girl with her finger up to her mouth tempting him to be quiet. Montag quickly noticed the girl and tears ran down his cheek. "Clarrise, you're alive, you weren't hit by a car, YOU'RE ALIVE," Montag yelled in joy, waking Mildred. Walking back over to the fire, still hugging CLarrise, she explains to Montag about how the Government wanted to take her away for making people question their society, their actions, so she has been hiding in the woods ever since. Mildred was astonished to see her. Ready to say something, but the mechanical beast jumped out of the bush and stuck Clarrise in the neck with the needle. She fell to the ground closing her eyes slowly. Montag yelled and tried to save her, but Mildred pulled him away and
In “The Black Cat,” the man was married to a patient and caring woman. They acquired another cat that, according to the man, looked remarkably like Pluto (709). One day, the cat almost tripped the man while they were walking down a flight of stairs. This “exasperated” the man “to madness” (Poe 709). He lifted an axe and “aimed a blow at the animal,” (Poe 709).
Later that night, the narrator is awakened by fire in his house and immediately exited it. All but one wall of the house was destroyed. After the blaze was put out, a large crowd gathered around the remaining wall and were amazed at how a wall in the middle of the house could remain standing after a fire. The narrator approached the wall and thought that he knew what the audience is commenting about. He saw a gigantic cat with a rope around its neck. He is filled with wonder and terror when he saw that the cat is alive. In reality, though, the cat is not alive; the narrator is just having a delusion, which is a symptom of paranoia. He quickly calms his worries about how the cat survived by saying that an onlooker watching the fire must have seen that the cat was tied to the tree and released it. Making oneself believe what is not true is also a sign of paranoia. The cat could not have been alive because it was hung from the tree in the morning, while the fire started late at night.
The man is too afraid of the cat to abuse it. The cat never leaves him alone for a moment, and even sits on his chest and breathes in his face when he is in bed. So, the man doesn't get any sleep. As his loathing of the cat increases, so does his physical and verbal abuse of his wife. One day he and his wife go down to the cellar of the crummy old house they live in now that they are poor. The cat follows them. In a fit of extreme irritation, the man tries to kill the cat with an axe. The woman stops him, and the man "burie[s] the axe in her brain," killing
At the beginning of the story, the man was essentially “happy” with his wife and black cat, Pluto. The story is light until the man begins drinking. He has begun to like that the cat did not want to be around him and avoided his presence anymore. This is possibly due to the fact that he is not happy with his drinking. However, one night when he came home and frightened the cat, which
Having moved into a new house, the narrator happens across a black cat, which then follows him home. Nerves rattled, the narrator does his best to avoid the cat. When that fails he tries to kill it, accidentally killing his wife in the process. After sealing his wife's body into the basement wall, he is interviewed by the police. Not unlike in “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator of “The Black Cat” cracks under the pressure of his guilt and gives himself up. Symbolism and suspense make “The Black Cat” worth reading.
In the short story, both cats follow the narrator around the house; however, their motives seem to be different. The first cat, Pluto is loved by the narrator. According to the narrator, Pluto was “my favorite pet and playmate”, and it seems the cat reciprocated the love and would follow the narrator throughout the house (Poe). Pluto wanted to be with the narrator so much that the narrator had difficulty leaving the house and making sure the cat did not follow him outdoors. Their companionship lasted for several years, with the narrator being the one to solely feed Pluto and Pluto wanting to be by his side. Until one day, the narrator’s personality changed, and he killed Pluto and gets the second cat out of his feelings of remorse. The second cat was loathed by the narrator, but just as Pluto, the second cat wanted to be near the narrator. Likewise, the second cat would follow the narrator’s footsteps throughout the house, which would irritate the narrator profusely. The irritation seemed to encourage the cat to be around him even more and included the cat sitting under the chair, jumping onto the narrator’s lap and cuddling with him. The cat seemed to enjoy making the narrator angry and the narrator would wake at night and find the cat lying on his chest and as he states, “find the hot breath of the thing upon my face (Poe).” Since the second cat wanted to be near the narrator even though the narrator despised him, enhanced the belief that it was the second life of Pluto wanting the narrator to remember what he had once done, but that was not the only similarity.