• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Pre 1900 prose stories : Analysis of “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe and “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W.Jacobs

Extracts from this document...


Pre 1900 prose stories : Analysis of "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allen Poe and "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W.Jacobs In this assignment I am going to analyse "The Black Cat" written by Edger Allen Poe, and, "The Monkeys Paw" written by W.W. Jacobs. These two short stories are superb examples of Victorian short horror stories. I am going to compare the narratives with the horror genre from the Victorian period and from at the present time and take note on changes of attitudes in generations. My past experiences of horror films and stories are when I have being told them at sleepovers and around campfires. Also I have read them books and at the cinemas to watch a horror film. Both horror films and stories create an atmosphere of jeopardy, peril and fear that captures the tension intended. The director in films achieves this tension by using spine chilling music and setting it in cold, gloomy and eerie surroundings. Features that are common in horror stories are dilapidated, out of the way run down old houses, which have a reputation for being haunted, and subnormal things have being known to go on in between the walls. Also another feature in a horror stories is that the main character is always alone in the house. Some times at the beginning of horror stories and films you hear about a murderer on the loose or a ghost spotted near by, this adds to the tension and builds up to the climax. Another way of writing the stories is to keep the reader in the dark and keep them guessing until right at the end. This tactic is useful because it keeps the reader engrossed and interested through out the story and holds the tension until climax is achieved. Horror stories nowadays are tamed from the Victorian period these days they are used more to entertain the audiences and don't focus on morals. ...read more.


Also it is described that the paw had a spell put on it by an old fakir to show that fate ruled people's lives. Then the sergeant told them about the man who had the paw before him that he didn't know what the first two wishes where but the third was for death. I think this was said in an attempt to scare them off. The ending to "The Monkeys Paw" is very intense because the story is left on a kind of cliffhanger just after the climax. This technique is used in many soaps so that it keeps the audience watching so that they find out the rest of the story. But in the story the cliffhanger method is used to spark the imagination of the reader. And leave the readers imagination to run wild. This is typical of a horror stories because an imagination is far more vivid and complex than a director could make a movie so the readers can make the ending up themselves. As the story of the "Black Cat" begins, the narrator is in jail awaiting his execution, which will occur on the following day, for the brutal murder of his wife. At that point, the rest of the story is told in flashback, as the narrator writes the most wild, yet homely narrative whose events have terrified--have tortured--have destroyed him. Although several characters are mentioned in this story, the true focus lies upon the nameless narrator, who is known for his docility and humanity of ...disposition. His tenderness of heart...[made him] the jest of [his] companions. He was especially fond of animals, and he was pleased to find a similar fondness for pets in his wife. They had many pets including "...birds, gold fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat." The cat was a large, beautiful animal that was entirely black. Pluto, as he was called, was the narrator's favourite pet. ...read more.


We might argue that what the narrator calls "perverseness" is actually conscience. Guilt about his alcoholism seems to the narrator the "perverseness" which causes him to maim and kill the first cat. Guilt about those actions indirectly leads to the murder of his wife who had shown him the gallows on the second cat's breast. The disclosure of the crime, as in "The Tell-Tale Heart," is caused by a warped sense of triumph and the conscience of the murderer. The sudden appearance of the second cat from nowhere, the slow growth of the white marking, and the murder of the wife after the animal brushed against the protagonist on the stairs are touches of the supernatural What makes this story different is that Poe has added a new element to aid in evoking the dark side of the narrator, and that is the supernatural. The story has an added twist which builds tension as the narrator hopes that the reader, like himself, will be convinced that these events were not "...an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects." In "The Black Cat" there is no real climax, The climaxes in the story appear though out the story which make it more gripping the whole way though but this makes the story not as gripping as "The Monkeys Paw" because it doesn't allow the story to collect as much tension for the final climax at the end. I think that "The black Cat" is a more gripping story because it is written in the form of a journal and makes the story seem more believable. Also what makes it more intense is that the narrator is shortly going to be executed so we know that he is not holding back from any of his actions because he is going to die anyway so it is his last chance to confess his sins and to hope to be forgiven. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Edgar Allan Poe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Edgar Allan Poe essays

  1. 'The Black Cat' by Edgar Allan Poe

    behind the cellar wall is the easiest to believe. The cat was frightened and took shelter. The police searched the cellar thoroughly and the cat didn't make a sound. It was not until the narrator rapped heavily on the wall with his cane that the cat made a noise.

  2. Comparison of 'The Tell Tale Heart', 'The Black Cat', and 'The Oval Portrait'.

    It refers t the cruelty that a pet has to endure from its alcoholic owner. The three stories all convey references of suffering and chaos. But, 'The Tell Tale Heart' and 'The Black Cat' portray this action as a more physical process.

  1. Compare and contrast The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat

    of his eyes resembled that of a vulture - a pale blue eye, with a film over it" - the protagonist of The Black Cat has an obsession with his pet. However, we get the sense that, while the first man has always been particularly unstable and nervous, the second

  2. Compare and contrast the narrative techniques used in three or more of Edgar Allan ...

    described through the way he talks and describes it as evil, "one of his eyes resembled that of a vulture". Other main themes in this story are insanity and madness, immediately at the beginning of the story the narrator challenges that he isn't mad "How, then, am I mad?", nevertheless

  1. With reference to Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher and ...

    By stark contrast, Dorian Gray as a human is restricted to act in a certain way, that is considered morally correct. His act of killing, in human society is considered as a sin. The supernatural is key in increasing the horror of a gothic novel, such as the fact that Dracula does not have reflection in the mirror.

  2. Throughout this essay I will be comparing and contrasting Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Black ...

    as Poe says that he say bared most of Forunato's but once he is gravely insulted he believes he has to go to the extremity of murder to gain his revenge and regain his dignity.

  1. Certain criteria to meet an effective horror story.

    your back without your seeing him, there seemed to be something clammy in the air, as if a cellar door was opened close to your elbow." In describing him in this way you imagine him as someone who is quiet and mysterious.

  2. How Edgar Allen Poe Builds Tension in His Short Stories [Yr 9 Living ...

    The reader, therefore, has cause to doubt the sanity and stability of the narrator and wonders how the story will conclude. Furthermore, the narrator in ?The Tell-Tale Heart? enjoys recounting in gruesome detail, and appears to be proud of his act of murder.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work