Edgar Allan Poe uses many common elements in his stories. Attention to sensory detail, symbolism as well as the trip into the dark imagination is all present in both of Poe’s stories, “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Black Cat.”
Symbolism is a common tie between Poe’s two stories. In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe uses the phrase "House of Usher" as a reference to the decomposing mansion as well as the "all time-honored Usher race...." Roderick feels that crumbling stones of the house somewhat represent the crumbling fate of the Usher family. "He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence for many years, he had never ventured forth...." Another connection is made in the story between a house and a person in the poem, "The Haunted Palace." The crack in the Usher mansion which is hardly distinguishable at first, suggests that there is a missing cornerstone in the relationship between the twins, Roderick and Madeline, and this also forebodes the final damnation of the
In the short, or as a junior English student might say, not so short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher," Poe analyzes the workings of the imagination, but also describes the destructive dangers within the human mind. The narrator names his ebony feline Pluto, which I found interesting because Pluto is the Roman god of the dead and the ruler of the underworld. Maybe this was the same cat that the writer had thought he killed previously. " The narrator in "The Black Cat," also undergoes a drastic transformation in his personality and the destructive dangers within him soon present themselves. In both of these short stories Poe evokes the dark mind of a main character, Roderick in one and the narrator in the other. Black cats could be witches in disguise, revisiting the superstitious element of the story. The chain of events becomes so extremely coincidental that blaming the supernatural is the easiest way to accept them. The narrator quickly attributes the change to his love, as well as abuse, of alcohol. While reading his testimony explaining the reasoning of the gruesome events which occurred, one must remember the state of mind of the narrator. The narrator tries to re-create in his mind the chain of events. Moving on to the equally, if not more disturbing short story by Poe "The Black Cat," you can see more examples of superstition. Black cats are symbols of bad luck, death, sorcery, witchcraft, and the spirits of the dead, if you hold stock in superstition. house as well as the Usher bloodline. Are there really two cats in this story, or did Pluto survive, and return for payback.