It is currently Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:20 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




 Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Black Cat Question #5 - What's the Point?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:46 am 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12397
Location: The Left Coast
What is the theme of the story?



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:51 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:03 pm
Posts: 15256
Location: Darkest UK~ Down in Albion
I think it's about how you can't keep your sins hidden inside you, that a secret like that of the Black Cat story corrodes from within, and eventually will out. It's a bit like the Macbeth principle, of guilt not being able to be washed away or ignored. Poe is very keen on this inner evil idea, in my opinion. That's why he appeals after all this time, because as a species we still fear what we may do to others more than what others may do to us. It's the loss of humanity that goes with losing control that we fear. Some would think of this as the definition of madness.



_________________________________________________________
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

Solace in the flood
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:12 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Posts: 2059
Location: Olney, Maryland
Endora wrote:
I think it's about how you can't keep your sins hidden inside you, that a secret like that of the Black Cat story corrodes from within, and eventually will out. It's a bit like the Macbeth principle, of guilt not being able to be washed away or ignored. Poe is very keen on this inner evil idea, in my opinion. That's why he appeals after all this time, because as a species we still fear what we may do to others more than what others may do to us. It's the loss of humanity that goes with losing control that we fear. Some would think of this as the definition of madness.
All good, Endora!

I once heard a definition of "gothic" (as in romance or novel) as a clash of good and evil: either an innocent person in an evil place, or an evil person in an innocent place. I wonder if whoever came up with that definition was thinking of Poe at the time.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:26 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12397
Location: The Left Coast
That's an interesting definition of gothic. I like it. It made me look up the definition (in relation to literature):

Literature belonging to a genre of fiction characterized by gloom and darkness, often with a grotesque or supernatural plot unfolding in an eerie or lonely location such as a ruined castle



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:27 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm
Posts: 1427
Yes, it seems that this 'gentleman' (well, he started out gentle) couldn't run away from the sin he committed while under the influence of alcohol. I think guilt was driving him mad, as well. The theme seems to be that once we sin, it's downhill from there. So I would take the moral to be that we're better off 'fessing up, making amends, and staying on the straight and narrow! :angel:



_________________________________________________________
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:45 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
Doesn't it seem that Poe uses guilt often as a motivator in his stories?



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:53 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm
Posts: 1427
Yes, and I think that helps to draw us in. We might not all be able to imagine ourselves sinking to the depths of his characters, but, unfortunately, we all most likely can find something to make us feel guilty! :-/



_________________________________________________________
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:12 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12397
Location: The Left Coast
I think that the point he is trying to make is that you'd better be careful what you do, because it might come back to bite you. And I agree that he emphasizes guilt, and that if one commits an atrocity the guilt will be so strong that it will reveal itself somehow so that the offender can be punished.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:21 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:36 pm
Posts: 7732
Location: Edge City On the Road
Liz wrote:
I think that the point he is trying to make is that you'd better be careful what you do, because it might come back to bite you. And I agree that he emphasizes guilt, and that if one commits an atrocity the guilt will be so strong that it will reveal itself somehow so that the offender can be punished.


I think that guilt is so huge a theme in Poe's short works, it is almost a singular character lurking beneath everything. In "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amantillado," as well.
I have to add here that I wish I'd had more time this month to examine his poems and short stories in depth again. It's been a very long time since I've read them.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 1:46 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:05 am
Posts: 2508
Location: Villa Incognito
Endora wrote:
I think it's about how you can't keep your sins hidden inside you, that a secret like that of the Black Cat story corrodes from within, and eventually will out. It's a bit like the Macbeth principle, of guilt not being able to be washed away or ignored. Poe is very keen on this inner evil idea, in my opinion. That's why he appeals after all this time, because as a species we still fear what we may do to others more than what others may do to us. It's the loss of humanity that goes with losing control that we fear. Some would think of this as the definition of madness.


Endora, I so agree… Madness is really the fear of losing control, but maybe the greater fear is not being able to recognize it when it happens. Self-awareness is supposedly what separates us from beasts.

I think that Poe was also trying say that there is no such thing as a little evil.



_________________________________________________________
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:19 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
dharma_bum wrote:
Endora wrote:
I think it's about how you can't keep your sins hidden inside you, that a secret like that of the Black Cat story corrodes from within, and eventually will out. It's a bit like the Macbeth principle, of guilt not being able to be washed away or ignored. Poe is very keen on this inner evil idea, in my opinion. That's why he appeals after all this time, because as a species we still fear what we may do to others more than what others may do to us. It's the loss of humanity that goes with losing control that we fear. Some would think of this as the definition of madness.


Endora, I so agree… Madness is really the fear of losing control, but maybe the greater fear is not being able to recognize it when it happens. Self-awareness is supposedly what separates us from beasts.

I think that Poe was also trying say that there is no such thing as a little evil.


I think you have a good point here db. Poe's characters in these stories don't seem to realize they are losing control even though the reader is quite aware of it - hence our fear. Very Mortish to answer another question about parallels.



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:14 pm
Posts: 6552
Location: australia
It's about cause and consequence and totally egocentric behaviour..The 'hero' doesn't understand that all actions have consequences ...



_________________________________________________________
Life is beautiful.

I have faith in you.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


phpBB skin developed by: John Olson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group