The Black Cat Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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How does "The Black Cat" relate to Edgar Allan Poe's life?

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Poe's story "The Black Cat" carries many details of his own personal life, like many of his stories. One major commonality in his stories is an unreliable, alcoholic narrator.

Edgar Allan Poe struggled with alcoholism his entire life, eventually leading to his untimely death. This is echoed in the narrator of the story here, who is a raging alcoholic who can't be trusted to accurately relate the details of the story.

Beyond the alcoholism that is evident in Poe's life and the story, this tale also features the death of a beloved female character. The narrator's wife dies at a young age, leaving him distraught and heartbroken. In Poe's own life, this is clearly seen, as his mother and other beloved women die at a young age, leaving him forlorn and alone.

Finally, there is a level and sense of guilt that pervades the story. Because of the death and the alcoholism that Poe and the narrator both endure, they feel a hefty weight of guilt and responsibility for he events around themselves....

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