Stephen's Reviews > The Black Cat

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
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's review
Jun 03, 11

bookshelves: short-fiction, classics, horror, ebooks, animalistic
Read from June 01 to 02, 2011 — I own a copy

GOODREADS POLL QUESTIONS: What did you think of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, THE BLACK CAT?
...
READER RESPONSES:
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OUCH....well I didn’t hate this anti black cat hit piece as much as the unbiased poll respondents did, but I didn’t really like it either. Of course, as a member of the GLASS Association (Get Lousy Drunk and Sing Showtunes), I will say that I found the negative portrayal of excess alcohol consumption to be both misleading and offensive and may have allowed that anger to color my opinion.
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Regardless, for me this story pretty much floated between “meh” and “so so” with occasional gusts up to okay. The writing was fine, though I think Poe Boy has certainly shown far more literary prowess than he displayed here. Still, I would easily have forgiven less than brilliant prose if the story had been good.

Uh…it wasn’t….or, at the very least, it wasn’t good enough to engage me the way I would have liked. Much of this had to do with the story dynamic which just felt forced and far-fetched.

The story begins with Mr. “kind, sweet, animal lover” who is happily married to Mrs. “kind, sweet animal lover” and has a lot of kind, sweet and well-loved animals, especially a large black cat named Pluto. So Dr. Doolittle begins sampling the local fermented beverages and quickly becomes a raging alcoholic madman who not only HATES animals, but enjoys committing surgical atrocities on them….WOAH!! BACK UP!!...HUH?
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It just didn’t make sense to me and I lost interest fairly early which is tough to do with a story only 15 pages long (so hats off to Poe on that score). The journey from Mike Brady to Hannibal Lector was just too much of a stretch and the story's arms weren't long enough to reach. Anyway, from there the plot just strolled deeper into the land of “Yeah Right” until finally coming to a stop at the oh so predicable ending. Even the trademark dread that Poe is usually so good at imbuing in his stories was almost totally absent.

Thus, for me, a disappointment given how much I have loved many of his stories.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Catie (new)

Catie One of his most disturbing, in my opinion. And with EAP, that's really saying something.


Stephen That is saying something when talking about Poe. You have me very intrigued now.


message 3: by Trudi (new)

Trudi While I don't agree with your final verdict, awesome review as always :)


Stephen Trudi wrote: "While I don't agree with your final verdict, awesome review as always :)"

Thanks, Trudi. I am not sure why I didn't like this one more as I generally like Poe. It happens I guess. Since I couldn't give a positive review, I was hoping to at least be entertaining,


message 5: by Emily May (new)

Emily May I really wish I'd read more of the books you have so that I could actually make a relevant comment more often... unfortunately, all I can say is that I love your reviews. You never fail to make me laugh :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Have you read "The Squaw" by Stoker? That one is quite disturbing. About a mama kitty who stalks the accidental killer of her kitten. It was chilling, both on an animal cruelty level and because of the relentless search for vengeance that the queen shows.


message 7: by Stephen (last edited Jun 03, 2011 10:20AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Stephen Emily wrote: "I really wish I'd read more of the books you have so that I could actually make a relevant comment more often... unfortunately, all I can say is that I love your reviews. You never fail to make me ..."

Thanks, Emily. I feel the same way. I really enjoy your reviews but I don't usually have anything insightful to say beyond "great review."

I'm happy to hear my reviews give you some chuckles.


Stephen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Have you read "The Squaw" by Stoker? That one is quite disturbing. About a mama kitty who stalks the accidental killer of her kitten. It was chilling, both on an animal cruelty level and because o..."

I have not heard of that, but will check it out. Thanks for the heads up.


Stephen Brian wrote: "Enjoyed this review... and I actually like Poe's story. I always like seeing a downfall after hubris, and I like the ambiguities of the story:
- did he sabotage himself, possibly out of feelings o..."


Hmmm, you raise good points. I like stuff like that too. Not sure why this one didn't click with me. Maybe I will revisit this down the road.


Stephen I actually went into a long discussion of that in my review of Hidden Warrior.


message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner Stephen, I thought you brought up some fair points (and I'm a Poe fan, too). But there have been cases of people who became violently cruel after getting into alcohol abuse, even though they had no previous history of that kind of thing --obviously, it doesn't happen to everybody, but it has been known to happen. I was personally acquainted with someone (now dead) who'd had a personality degeneration of that type. Of course, subconscious tendencies in that direction have to be present to start with; drunkenness uncorks them, rather than creates them.

Interestingly, I didn't take Poe as having a hostile view of the black cats in the story (or of black cats in general). They never did anything I thought of as blameworthy; the second one, IMO, functioned as an agent of just retribution rather than as any kind of agent of evil. (I didn't take the narrator's excuse that the animal "seduced" him into murder at face value, and I don't think Poe intended the reader to do so.)


Kennedy XD wow, that made me smile


Stephen I'm glad you liked it, Kennedy.


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