Language

Style of writing

The language used in the short story “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe is slightly old-fashioned English, given that the text is more than 150 years old. The story is also written in a very fragmented way. Comments, explanations, and repetitions are sometimes inserted in the middle of a sentence: “When reason returned with the morning — when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch — I experienced a sentiment half of horror” (ll. 53-54). This is done to draw attention to the line, bring clarifications, or strengthen the message of the text. The fragmentation also echoes the narrator’s fragmented and unstable state of mind.

Interestingly, some words are written with capital letters, suggesting the narrator’s emphasis and desperation: “…the image of a hideous -- of a ghastly thing -- of the GALLOWS ! -- oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime -- of Agony and of Death !” (ll. 159-160). Similarly, the narration uses an unusual number of exclamation marks, suggesting the narrator’s agitation and the psycholo...

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