What is the POV of "The Black Cat"

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The point of view of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Black Cat" is a central, first person narrator. It is also omniscient (knows everything) and subjective (speaks from his own criteria, experience, or context).

The salient traits of a 1st Person POV are the following:

  • The narrator has first hand information of the problem of the story
  • He or she is a character within the tale and refers to self in first person (I, me).
  • May or may not be entirely trusted, as he or she is telling a story from a personal and subjective context.
In "The Black Cat" we have the added variable that the narrator seems to be mentally unstable. This makes the narrator all the more unreliable. He asks that we believe him, but knows he cannot expect us to do so. He knows that he is telling a supernatural tale and that the things that have occurred may render him prone to be considered crazy, but he tells the story anyways along with the chilling details of his own behaviors.
 
Therefore, although the POV is first person omniscient and subjective, it does not necessarily mean that the events happened verbatim as the narrator suggests. Instead, it means that a lot of details may have been left out for the narrator's own benefit. This is where the imagination meets fact and the audience is left to make its own conclusions of what is going on.

 
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