The Black Cat

The Black Cat
1. The story is told in first person POV.
2. What is the advantage and disadvantage of 1 person POV?
3. Why did Poe write the story from the perspective of the narrator?
4. Can we believe what the narrator tells us? Is he a reliable narrator?
1. Where is the narrator in the beginning of the story?
2. The story is told in “flashback” (A device used in literature to present action that occurred before the
beginning of the story. Flashbacks are often introduced as the dreams or recollections of one or more
characters. Flashback techniques are often used in films, where they are typically set off by a gradual
changing of one picture to another. )
1. What is the man’s personality at the beginning of the story?
2. What is his favorite pet? What does it look like?
3. Why is the cat named “Pluto”?
4. What changed the narrator’s personality and behavior? (Abuse of alcohol evokes the dark side and the
perversity of human nature.)
5. Why does the narrator say
“There is something strange about the human heart. We humans seem to like hurting ourselves. Haven’t we
all, a hundred times, done something stupid or evil just because we know that we should not do it?” p. 18
Do you agree with it? Can you think of any similar experience?
6. Chinese philosophers argued about the question--- “Are human beings born good or evil?” What do
you think about that? Can we learn from Poe’s stories about his opinions on the question? How would Poe
answer the question?
7. Why does the narrator knock on the wall with a stick?
Plot and theme.
1. What are the main events in the story?
2. Are these events caused by supernatural powers?
3. How do you explain the white mark on the second cat?
4. Are there really two cats in the story? Or did Pluto survive and return to take revenge on the narrator?