The Black Cat, By Edgar Allan Poe

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Type the word horror into google and you will receive the following definition on Merriam Webster: an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. Horror is different than fear in that it is more disturbing, disgusting, and creepy. Writers of horror stories take repulsive or unspeakable elements and turn them into a story that’s sure to make even the strongest of reader’s arm hairs stand on edge. One such writer spent a portion of his life writing these kind of stories. Edgar Allan Poe was influenced by his own life experiences, social normalities of the early 19th century, and used literary devices to write horrific works such as The Black Cat, The Raven, and Berenice.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote the short story The Black Cat in 1843.
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Further on in the story a raven flies into the home and causes the man to go a little insane. Near the end of the poem he says, “[the raven’s] eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming, and the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor” (The Raven 105-106). This image of the raven as a demon is certainly a horrific image to the narrator and the reader.

In The Raven and The Black Cat, Poe uses animals to show horror. However, in the short story Berenice Poe shows horror through human beings. The story tells of a man named Egaeus who is engaged to be married to his cousin, however she falls ill before they are married. The reader also finds out that the narrator has monomania. Egaeus’ obsession? His fiance’s white and shiny teeth. Soon after, Berenice is proclaimed dead and they have a funeral. Egaeus is disturbed by her teeth during the funeral and becomes lost in thought about them. He comes around much later and a servant “whispers to [Egaeus] of a violated grave- of a disfigured body discovered upon its margin- a body enshrouded, yet still breathing, still palpitating, still alive!” (Berenice 5) Berenice is found still alive, though disfigured. Then Egaeus remembers the little box, and his dirty clothes. In horror, the reader can make the inference that Egaeus removed the teeth of his bride-to-be in a blackout moment.

Edgar Allen

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