What are the themes in "The Black Cat"?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Theme is the main idea that runs throughout a story, and usually there are more than one or two.  To create a list for yourself, complete the following:  __________________(name of story) is a tale about________________(the first thing that comes to mind).

The Black Cat is a tale about men vs. women, guilt, torment, love, marriage, murder, pride, and the list can go on and on.

Be sure that you are able to point to evidence in the story that supports your ideas.

Good Luck!

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renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The criminal mind's psychological ideas are a theme in this story. Poe is making the statement that the pathological aspects of  the mind of a criminal are not as everyone might expect. The idea is that a criminal gets caught, not because of  guilty conscience, but because of his overt pleasure in going against the moral codes of society. In this story, an example of this would be when the he taps on the bricks in front of the police casually, and the reader knowing that it conceals his wife's body.

Further Reading:

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allynah | Student

1. Theme of violence

2. Theme of freedom and confinement 

3. Theme of justice and judgement

4. Theme of home 

5. Theme of drugs and alcoholism

6. Theme of transformation


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jaberna13 | Student

The theme of the story is slavery. The black cat Pluto represents an african slave in the south. The second cat represents a half white half black slave. The wife represents southerns who tried to help the slaves get to the free land (the north). The narrorater represents a plantition owner in the south.

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samiesourz | Student

The themes are gothic and perverse the main theme is about the descent into madness, see sparknotes :)

also it's the second cat that is buried in the wall, Pluto gets his eye ripped out with a penknife then hung xx

hope i helped x

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aburrows03 | Student

In "the black cat" by Poe which cat did he wall up with his wife? Pluto or the new cat?

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