Essay about "Black Cat" Short Story Analysis

994 Words Oct 28th, 2008 4 Pages
“The Black Cat” Analysis When reading a short story many people take the details given to be the unconditional truth. This is probably why so many of these people are confused or repulsed by a story like “The Black Cat.” Throughout the story, the narrator makes numerous contradictions. These contradictions, combined with his actions make me doubt the legitimacy and truth of what he says. In the first few paragraphs of the story, the narrator makes a point of rejecting the idea that he is mad. It almost seems as if he goes out of his way to reassure readers that he is indeed sane. It was at this point that I first got an inclination that the narrator was unreliable, either because he is insane, or just lying. The average person who reads …show more content…
Several times throughout the story the narrator brings up his love of animals. However what he says seems to be in stark contrast with his actions. For example, he says that he loves Pluto, and describes Pluto as a “beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree.” Later, however, he directly contradicts these words by feeling a bitter loathing towards the cat culminating in him cutting Pluto’s eye out, and eventually hanging him. So it seems obvious that what he says is not the truth. But is he lying, or just delusional? I think that he actually thinks he likes animals. He seems sane enough to realize that anyone sane person would find it glaringly obvious that his actions exist in stark contrast with his words. That being said, his treatment of animals throughout the story is not normal. I would be inclined to think that he is sociopathic, but he expresses shame and guilt after the fact, saying “I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity,” which would suggest that he has a conscience. Unless of course, he is lying. Of course, another question is the role of alcohol in his actions. Addicts have been known to do things that they would not normally do when they are stimulated by the drug. Alcohol is not available on death row, and its absence at the time when he was writing may explain the sanity of the story itself. However, alcohol can definitely…