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The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

Comprehension Questions: Answer each question in complete sentences. Remember

to rephrase the question in your answer.
1. The narrator moves from speaking in present tense in paragraph #1 to past

tense for the remainder of the tale. Where do you think the speaker may be
in the opening paragraph? With whom is he talking? What does he imply will
be happening to him on the following day?

2. How does the narrator explain his early behavior and disposition towards

animals and others in the beginning of his story? Provide at least two
examples that help the reader to understand how the narrator behaved early

3. What reason does the narrator give for his drastic change in disposition and

temperament towards his wife and pets? Explain the way in which the
narrator tortures and kills his cat, Pluto.

4. What occurs on the evening of the day that the narrator kills Pluto?

5. How does the narrator try to explain the plastered image of a gigantic cat

with a rope around its neck that mysteriously appears on the bedroom wall?

6. Why does the narrator begin to hate and avoid the second cat? What specific

mark (image) in the animals small section of white fur becomes clearly
visible to the narrator? Why does this drive the narrator into a fury?

7. Why does the narrator kill his innocent wife? How does he attempt to hide his


8. What does the narrator believe has happened to the second black cat when

he does not see the animal for several days?

9. How is the narrators crime finally revealed? How is he caught?

Analysis Questions: Answer each question in complete sentences. Remember to rephrase

the question in your answer.
10. How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place

anywhere else?

11. What are some of the controversial elements of the story? Were they


12. What is the role of women in the text?

13. Would you recommend this story to a friend? Why or why not?

14. How does Edgar Allan Poe reveal character in "The Black Cat"? Give specific

examples! (Direct or Indirect Characterization?)

15. What are some themes and symbols in the story? How do they relate to the

plot and characters?

16. How does Poe set the mood in the story? Are there any re-occurring images,

words, etc.?

17. Is the narrator consistent in his actions? Is he a reliable narrator? Why or why


18. Do you find the narrator likable? Would you want to meet him?

19. Does the story end the way you expected? How? Why?

20. What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or


21. Why do you think the story usually considered a work of horror literature?

Continue on the back as needed.

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