What are the adjectives for Poe's short story "The Black Cat"?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat," the narrator is highly descriptive in his accounts of the apparition of the black cat, using Gothic imagery, as well as supernatural, unnatural, and morbid motifs to build suspense and mystery.

Here's a sample, the last paragraph, with adjectives in bold:

Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!

The narrator is very observant, much like a scientist or a detective.  He not only gives color ("red") but numbers ("dozen," "one") to things.  Most people, given the horrific circumstances, are not so calm as to observe the minor details.  As Poe is a Romantic writer, he is not concerned with realism; rather, he wants to highlight the perverseness of the world more than comment on the true-to-life conditions in the natural one.

Read the study guide:
The Black Cat

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