Monday, October 13, 2014

MMRM: "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe

As with last week's Macabre Mini Review Monday, these two short stories also have something in common, other than their authorship. It should be quite simple to see what it is, if you read both of them.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe

Available to read for free, online here.
Rating: 5 Stars (Extraordinary)
Content: Macabre Creepiness, Murder, and Anxiety Attacks (Ages 13+)
Page Count: 7 pages in my short story book (shorter online)
Year Published: 1843

If you're someone who gets spooked easily at night, perhaps by the wind or your house settling (*guilty*) then this story will creep you out. Poe is one of my favorite writers, but he's also someone who could make pretty much any story scary.

The Plot: A man plots to off his neighbor.

Anxiety plays a huge role in this story. As someone who has never suffered anxiety attacks, I could still see the reason behind the one contained in this story.

As usual, I can't say much more without spoiling, but this is a tale to read whenever you wonder, "How could someone do such a thing?"

"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe

Available to read for free, online here.
Rating: 4 Stars (Excellent)
Content: Mistreatment of animals, Ages 13+
Page Count: 13 pages in my short story book
Year Published: 1843

These tales are very similar, despite different beginnings. The narrator is again afflicted with anxiety, and it is the anxiety that propels the story. Wikipedia also told me that "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" are often paired together for analysis, so I chose to cover them together today.

The Plot: A normally gentle man becomes increasingly irate with the addition of a black cat to his household.

I've never had the fear of black cats, probably because I once volunteered at an animal rescue and the black cats were usually not the troublemakers (longhairs are typically moodier). There is something spooky about them, though, due to their ability to mesh with the shadows and remain unseen. I have a neighbor with two cats- one calico and one black, and the black cat is hard to spot, even when in plain sight.

As an animal lover, it's hard to relate to the proposed "animal lover" in this story, but I think the crimes have a little more to do with paranoia than anything else. This story also covers the perils and enigmas of human behavior.

Until tomorrow,


  1. I love Poe. I am going to read some stories of his I have not yet for the Readathon this weekend. I've read and liked both of these, too!

    1. I love Poe too- he had a way with setting the mood for a story. The Tell-Tale Heart is my favorite short scary story, hands down.
      Good luck with your readathon and thanks for commenting!
      ~Litha Nelle


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