Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, literary critic and editor, and a bright representative of American Romanticism. He wrote numerous short stories, but became famous mostly because of his “mystery and macabre” stories. Poe was one of the first American writers who created his works in the form of short stories, and is considered to be a creator of detective fiction genre in literature. His work contributed to the emergence of the detective-fiction genre.
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“The Black Cat” is one of the most famous short stories of Edgar Allan Poe in the horror genre. First time it was published in August 1843 in the weekly magazine The Saturday Evening Post. Summarizing the plot of the story, it is possible to say that the narration is presented on behalf of an alcoholic, who under the influence of intoxicating beverages does not control his behavior and falls into fits of mindless rage. His first victim becomes a household pet – a black cat, whom the narrator, in a fit of delirium tremens cuts an eyeball.
For a while he vacillates between contrition and delight of his own depravity. Finally the wickedness prevails, and the narrator hangs helpless cat in a tree in the garden. That night, his house inexplicably fires and on the only surviving wall, he finds the silhouette of a hanged cat. When the narrator begins to repent in his cruelty, he finds a very alike cat in tavern. The only difference from the first cat is in the fact that his chest has a white spot. Taking it home, the narrator first treats the cat friendly, but it does not last long. After the discovery that the cat doesn’t have the same eye, the narrator tries to avoid the pet, do not hurting it. Over time, the narrator notices that the spot on the cat’s chest takes the form of gallows. The cat increasingly likes the narrator, but the narrator tries to avoid it. During a visit to the cellar, the cat gets in the way of the owner, making him angry. The narrator takes an ax to kill the cat, but his wife stops him. In a fit of rage, he lowers the ax on her head. The body, he walled into the wall of a cellar.
A few days later, during the inspection of the house, police doesn’t find anything. In a fit of self-righteousness, the narrator boasts of wall’s quality and bangs on the wall in front of the policeman; it was the wall, behind which his wife was buried. In response they all hear a wild cry from the wall. The police dismantle a wall and find a dead wife and a mewing cat on her head.
“The Black Cat” is a typical horror story of Allan Poe. It is has much in common with another novel by Edgar Allan Poe, written at the same time, – “Tell-Tale Heart.” Here also the story is narrated on behalf of the first person, and also makes us believe in narrator’s madness. The hero of the story “The Black Cat” acknowledges that “it would be madness to expect that someone will believe his story, and sometimes he does not trust his own memories” (Miller 45).
“The Black Cat” is one of the darkest stories of Allan Poe, in which he shows the terrible effects of alcohol on the person. There is shown the narrator’s anomie, his transformation from a good admirer of animals to fanatic and a murderer (all these because of alcohol). The black cat represents a bad omen; in the beginning of the story the narrator recalls the words of his wife that “all black cats are turned witches” (Skipp 92). The name of the fist cat was Pluto – in honor of the Roman god of the underworld. This interesting and spine-chilling short story was adapted into film several, proving that the story of Allan Poe is immortal and interesting to read.
“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is a short story of the American romantic writer Edgar Allan Poe and that is considered to be the first detective story. The story was first published in Philadelphia, in “Graham’s Magazine” in April 20, 1841.
Making a review of the plot, it should be mentioned that the story starts with telling about a brutal murder that happened in Rue Morgue in Paris. The widow Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter were killed. The Madame was mutilated with a razor and dropped out of the window, and the daughter was strangled and stuffed in a chimney.
The narrator describes how he became acquainted with Dupin, and how they learn about the murder. On suspicion police arrested Le Bon, whom Dupin knew. He is confident that Le Bon is not guilty and offers his services. Dupin is familiar with police prefect and learns from him the circumstances of the murder, and shows the narrator a newspaper article that described the testimony of witnesses (Poe 89).
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Dupin discovers that the murder was committed by orangutan and that is why he meets with its owner. The owner is a sailor. The owner tells that the orangutan repeats all actions he sees. Once the orangutan took the razor and wanted to shave (repeating the actions of a master). Seaman tried to take away the beast razor, but the orangutan escaped and got into the house to the widow and her daughter. Seaman chased the beast, and witnessed the murder. He was in a panic and ran out and forgot about the orangutan. The story finishes with the fact that Dupin does not blame the sailor and lets him go.
Analyzing the image of Dupin, we understand that he is not an official; he is not a detective, and never dealt with murders. He doesn’t even have his investigation, but only reads newspapers and draws conclusions. He is an amateur and does not disclose the murder, but solves the problem. For him, this is an exciting activity that is combined with psychology. Poe, himself calls Dupin an analyst, who gets pleasure from his analytical gifts and applies it in all situations. Perhaps he is very close to the problems of society, but prefers to stay out of it. Dupin is more interested in character, behavior and logic of the people.
After the story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, the image of Dupin was an inspiration for many literary detectives. His manner, the method of logical thinking and reasoning more than once were used in the works of detective writers. Discussing the place of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in literature, it should be said that this story is one of the first detective works in it. Although Edgar Allan Poe did not try to write a detective story, never the less in the story he described the psychology and the ability to think logically. The style of the story is mysterious. Genre of narrative can also be called horror.
“Murders in the Rue Morgue” is not a classic detective story. In the classic detective stories, which began to be written in the 20th century, there are many characters and few specific suspects (Foley 254). The detective conducts his investigations and exposes the murderer in the end. There is nothing like this in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. Dupin does not conduct an investigation, but only reads newspaper articles. There are no other characters, so the reader has no way to suspect someone. Allan Poe wrote this story in the times when there were no detective genre and its strict rules. This short story was written one and a half centuries ago, but still remains popular and is considered to be classics of world literature.
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