The Black Cat
5 Installments—Entirely free
An unforgivable act of cruelty touches off a chilling series of events in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 story The Black Cat. The narrator of Poe’s tale owns many pets with his wife and thinks of himself as an animal lover. His alcoholism, however, brings out a violent streak in him. After an initial drunken episode in which he tortures one of his pets, a black cat, the narrator comes home drunk again and terrorizes the same helpless creature, killing it in a gruesome and shocking manner. Not long after this heinous crime, the narrator and his wife begin noticing strange and terrifying phenomena around them. Their house catches on fire suddenly and, amid the smoking ruins, one wall remains standing. The narrator and his wife are shocked to find that there, on the wall, is the image of the murdered cat. Can the cat be haunting them? Is it seeking revenge for its tragic death? As they soon find, this will not be the end of the animal’s supernatural quest for retribution. Although he may seek to put his horrible act behind him, the narrator learns that the black cat will never let him forget.
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Soon after his birth in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) lost both of his parents. The young Poe went to live with a couple from Virginia, where he went to school and eventually to college. Poe only briefly attended university before dropping out to embark on a short-lived stint in the military. While still quite young, Poe published his first book of poems, Tamerlane, and discovered that in writing, he had found direction for his life. Poe began to produce short stories and non-fiction prose for various publications in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Over the years, his work enjoyed increasing popularity. In the 1830s, Poe wrote many of his most famous works, including some of the very first examples of detective fiction, a genre that he is credited with inventing. His gothic tales of murder and mystery, among them The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Masque of the Red Death, thrilled readers in America and Europe. Poe’s poetry was also well received in his lifetime, and he published what is perhaps his most famous poem, The Raven, in 1845. Almost as if it was a strange tale of his own making, Poe’s untimely death continues to be the subject of much speculation to this day. In the middle of the night in October of 1849, Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in a delirious and weakened state. Wearing clothes that did not belong to him and calling out to an unidentified person named “Reynolds,” Poe died in a Baltimore hospital a few days later. Poe’s legend lives on today, with readers all over the world delighting in his enigmatic and haunting tales and devoted fans regularly paying their respects at his gravesite in Baltimore.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
THE BLACK CAT.
FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not - and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and ...
Reviewed by jameswhite5555 on Nov 1, 2012
The Black Cat
A great book to read on Halloween or any other day of the year.
Reviewed by John_Rempel on Jan 17, 2009
Like most of Poe's stories this is brilliant romanticism. If you love cats and find cruelty to them horrid, this may disturb you, but do read on to its finale.
Reviewed by legalbs2 on Jun 16, 2009
How horrible for the cat! Very disturbing to read about someone mutilating a cat. I know it was only a story, but gheez!
Reviewed by sweetaspie_1987 on May 3, 2010
Fun to read
It started off a little slow but then it was a good once I got into it...
Reviewed by Alf_ie on Apr 21, 2010
Perverse & utterly disturbing !
Perverse & utterly disturbing short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The Story is similar to "The Tell Tale Heart."
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Ratings for 'The Black Cat' by Poe, Edgar Allan