Vivid Imagery of 'The Black Cat'

1441 Words6 Pages
Lauren McFadden ENG 1013 Lindsay Penn 05 February 2013 Vivid Imagery of “The Black Cat” The use of vivid imagery in “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most fascinating aspects of this story to me. Poe shapes the mood of suspense using language, symbols, and the supernatural in such a dark and intriguing way. These three things create a sense of foreshadowing, which helps set the stage for the reader and navigates the path from one shocking event to the next. Poe’s use of these three literary techniques that incorporate an added twist as the narrator hopes that the reader, like himself, will be convinced that these events were not "...an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects" (Poe, 695).…show more content…
Poe has chosen his beloved Witching Hour in which to have the crux of the story occur. This contributes to the gothic nature of the tale, not to mention the horror of it. He utilizes the darkness and silence of night to create the mood of suspense and visual sensory for the reader. Poe uses a theme of the supernatural to contrast against the narrator’s claim to logically explain the events that have led up to his imprisonment. The apparition of the first cat upon the burned wall, the appearance of the gallows like pattern upon the chest of the second cat, and the discovery of the second cat behind the cellar wall set up a convincing case that the supernatural plays an important part in this grotesque short story. The narrator contrasts logic with words like wonder, apparition, and amazement to make the reader aware of the unexplained nature of the tale and create vibrant detail. Quinn points out that “Poe knew that to be effective the supernatural must appeal to the most powerful impulse in human nature, self-preservation, not only of physical life but also of spiritual life. The alternative is madness” (Quinn, 302). Since the narrator cannot claim his past temperament and preserve the life that he once shared with his wife and pets, it is this madness that leads the narrator down his road to destruction. Poe also hints at destiny and fate in “The Black Cat”, which adds another slant toward the
Get Access