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IOC EXTRACT: THE BLACK CAT Diction: brings out his

ignorance and
confidence THEREFORE
showing his insanity IRONY

Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police came, very unexpectedly, into the Commented [RM(A1]: sets the setting: informs you the
time and position of the extract in the story: it’s during the
house, and proceeded again to make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in investigation for the murder of the man’s wife.
the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrassment whatever. The officers -cellar: common setting (fall of the house in the usher)

bade me accompany them in their search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for Commented [RM(A2]: dramatical ironical- hes in a jail cell
for committing a crime
the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in a muscle. My heart beat -connect to tell tale heart : his precision, safe and
confidence of not being caught
on and calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my
degenera Commented [RM(A3]: tone: unconcerned, diabolic
tion of a arms upon my bosom and roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughly satisfied and mood: suspenseful, nightmarish
character -no remorse, fear= increased evil –ironical bc he used to
prepared to depart. The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but
+ his love his animals
transfor one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.
mation Commented
[RM(A4]: biblical reference to hell: biblical
"Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, "I delight to have allayed your foreshadows a punishment to come
suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By the bye, gentlemen, this—this is a
very well-constructed house." [In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I Commented [RM(A5]: house is supposed to be a place of
safety, however here it becomes a dark place of tragic and
uttered at all.]—"I may say an excellently well-constructed house. These walls—are you going, murder
gentlemen?—these walls are solidly put together;" and here, through the mere phrenzy of Commented [RM(A6]: Punctuation:
Use of parenthesis: to provide extra information, details
bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the and reasoning to the reader
brick-work behind which stood the ghastly corpse of the wife of my bosom. -em dashes: show thinking process, lay emphasis, guilt
coming up
-frequent use of commas and exclamation marks
But my God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the
-Short fragmented sentences
reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the Commented [RM(A7]: his wife could have been his
tomb!—by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling “humanity of feeling” = saved her
instead, she becomes an eg of his loss of innocence,
into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman—a howl—a wailing insanity and gruesome violence
shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly Commented [RM(A8]: biblical references+ supernatural
from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation!
Commented [RM(A9]: irony: the narrator would have
escaped and was considered innocent by the police
Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one
however after this remark of the excellent construction of
instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the house, the narrator is hit by a wave of guilt of killing his
wife and his beloved cat, due to which the alcohol perhaps
the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly make him hallucinate sounds and eventually gets him
decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with caught-
Commented [RM(A10]: alludes to hell/devil?
red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me -refers to the cat (black cat often associated with the devil
into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the and infortunes)
-cat as a symbol: like the bad omen of legend Pluto, the cat
monster up within the tomb! leads the narrator to insanity
-symbol of his tortured conscience
-guilt exaggerating the hallucinations caused due to alcohol
-ironical: due to his alcoholism, the cat he used to love, he
now associates it with hellish behaviour/devil
foreshadowing punishment+death

Commented [RM(A11]: only evidence




-The given extract is from The Black Cat, written by Edgar Allan Poe.


- famous for his American gothic horror tales + uses many of the American gothic
characteristics such as emotional intensity, superstition, extremes in violence. The focus on
a certain object (the cat) and foreshadowing that lead the reader through a series of
horrifying events.

- this is one of Poe’s most memorable works + linked with Tell-tale heart: psychological


- This short story centres around a black cat and the subsequent deterioration of a man
due to his alcohol addiction.

- Poe himself suffered from alcoholism and often showed erratic behaviour with Violent

- Through the careful construction of plot, the ongoing use of irony and the rapid
development of character, Poe catches the reader’s attention.


-Opening on the 4th day of the assassination, the particular extract focuses on the falling
action of the story and leads towards the conclusion. The extract focuses on the
transition of a man trapped in the webs of his insanity and the arrival of his guilt followed
by its consequences.


-The main themes in this story are: death and entombment, relationships of love and hate, Commented [RM(A12]: -Death and entombment/burial
-Love and Hate: the transformation of a healthy loving
justice and truth, superstitions and illusions vs reality. relationship between the two partners and the cat and the
man and how that gradually turns into a hurtful, hateful
-This extract focuses on the themes of: insanity, truth and justice, guilt and death and relationship
-justice and truth: investigation of the wife’s murder


-informs the reader about the driving force of the story+ as in ancient times black cats were
linked with superstitious beliefs of their links with witches and devils, the title foreshadows
the evil that is about to come and hints at the superstitious nature of the story.

-symbol of his tortured conscious


-the extract opens by informing the readers of the setting, the time and position of the
extract in the story: it’s during the investigation for the murder of the man’s wife, 4 days
after the assassination, at the man’s home.

-house is supposed to be a place of safety, however ironically here it becomes a dark place
of tragic and murder

-another important setting that is observed in the story- cellar: common setting in poe’s
works also observed in the fall of the house in the usher


-Uses his unnerving and frightening diction to create a -tone: unconcerned, diabolic

mood: suspenseful, nightmarish


-unnamed, unreliable narrator : universality +


-also uses his diction to evoke dramatic irony to build on the theme of insanity

- throughout the first paragraph of the extract he incorporates words like “very
unexpectedly” “rigorous” “heart beat calmly”

-build on his guilt “phrenzy” “glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained”


- “red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast”, “burned”
-poe makes biblical allusions to hell: “burning” in hell due to his sin + foreshadowing of the
punishment to come.


- The extract is replete with anaphora and repetition “I..” “this-this” “half of horror, half of
triumph” which re-enforces the man’s foolishness and insanity


- Some common writing styles of poe can be observed through his use of short-
fragmented sentences + ! + ? + () + em dashes in his writing

-Use of parenthesis: to provide extra information, details and reasoning to the reader

-em dashes: show thinking process or stammering to stress the overwhelming guilt of the


-Therefore, The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe effectively draws out the themes of insanity,
guilt and justice and death throughout the paragraph through the use of various literary

-immerses the reader into the mind of a murdering alcoholic.

-showcases the insane extent of alcohol’s damaging influence on the lives of a happy
couple + universality reflects how easily anyone can fall a victim to it

-shows characteristics of emotional instability, extremes in violence + superstitions