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Black Cat Summary - Story Review

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Summary of "The Black Cat"

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" is a story about how one man's problem with alcohol leads to his own downfall. Our narrator, who remains nameless, tells his tale from prison the night before he is due to die. He is a man who grew up as a kind-hearted person and a lover of animals; he marries a woman who is very much like him. As his alcoholism progresses, he becomes mean to his animals; eventually he can't even stand his favorite pet, his cat Pluto. One night, in a fit of anger, the man cut out the cat's eye with a pen knife, and then he hangs the cat from a tree branch. The same night the man's house burns down--all but one wall which ironically had on it an imprint of the cat hanging. After moving into a new place, the man befriends a cat that looks like his old cat; this cat, he later realized, is even missing one eye like Pluto. I took this from a website. The narrator's problem with alcohol soon causes him to become easily annoyed with the new cat, so annoyed that one day the man finally tries to kill him with an ax. When his wife stops him, he buries the ax in her head instead. He methodically plots how to dispose of her body and finally decides to bury it behind a wall in the cellar. This demented narrator is finally at ease with himself; his wife is dead and buried, and the cat seems to have disappeared. His final downfall soon follows, though, because of his own arrogance. When the police search the house, he bangs on the wall of the very spot where he walled in his wife; when he does, the cat screeches from behind the wall, and the police dig out the body. This is where the story ends; it is all the narrator can tell before it is his time to die.

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