What is the one similarity between "The Black Cat" and the "Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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There are several similarities between “The Black Cat” and “The Tell Tale Heart” by Poe.   A couple of the main similarities are:

  • Both stories are narrated by an insane character.  There is something not quite right with both of the narrators in the stories.  They are obsessed with unusual things—the black cat and the old man’s eye.  Their obsessive behaviors cause them distress and anxiety to the point of doing, seeing, and hearing unbelievable things.
  • Both stories have violent narrators.  The insane narrators revert to violence to settle their obsessions.  In “The Black Cat,” the narrator gouges out the cat’s eye and later hangs the cat.  He also beats his wife in his insane state.  The narrator in “The Tell Tale Heart” sneaks into the old man’s bedroom each night by cracking open the bedroom door and shining a ray of light onto the old man’s ghastly eye.  He later kills the old man and buries his heart under the floor boards of his living room. 
  • In both stories, there is an “eye” that seems to be the cause of the narrators’ anxiety.  Poe often uses eyes as a recurring motif.  Eyes are “the windows to the soul” and in both stories, the narrators feel that they are being scrutinized or judged by eyes in the respective stories. 

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