Babmons Paws Short Story

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Babmons Paws Short Story

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He took the paw, and dangling it between his forefinger and thumb, suddenly threw it upon the fire. White, with a slight cry, stooped down and snatched it off. Pitch it on the fire again like a sensible man. The other shook his head and examined his new possession closely. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. Her husband drew the talisman from pocket, and then all three burst into laughter as the sergeant-major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm.

White dropped it back in his pocket, and placing chairs, motioned his friend to the table. White, regarding her husband closely. And he pressed me again to throw it away. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. His father, smiling shamefacedly at his own credulity, held up the talisman, as his son, with a solemn face, somewhat marred by a wink at his mother, sat down at the piano and struck a few impressive chords. A fine crash from the piano greeted the words, interrupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife and son ran toward him. He shook his head. They sat down by the fire again while the two men finished their pipes. Outside, the wind was higher than ever, and the old man started nervously at the sound of a door banging upstairs. A silence unusual and depressing settled upon all three, which lasted until the old couple rose to retire for the night.

He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last face was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement. In the brightness of the wintry sun next morning as it streamed over the breakfast table he laughed at his fears. There was an air of prosaic wholesomeness about the room which it had lacked on the previous night, and the dirty, shrivelled little paw was pitched on the sideboard with a carelessness which betokened no great belief in its virtues. How could wishes be granted in these days? And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you, father?

His wife made no reply. She was watching the mysterious movements of a man outside, who, peering in an undecided fashion at the house, appeared to be trying to make up his mind to enter. In mental connection with the two hundred pounds, she noticed that the stranger was well dressed, and wore a silk hat of glossy newness. Three times he paused at the gate, and then walked on again. The fourth time he stood with his hand upon it, and then with sudden resolution flung it open and walked up the path.

White at the same moment placed her hands behind her, and hurriedly unfastening the strings of her apron, put that useful article of apparel beneath the cushion of her chair. She brought the stranger, who seemed ill at ease, into the room. She then waited as patiently as her sex would permit, for him to broach his business, but he was at first strangely silent. The old lady started. What is it? Her husband interposed. The visitor bowed in assent. She caught her breath, and turning to her slower-witted husband, laid her trembling old hand upon his. There was a long silence. The other coughed, and rising, walked slowly to the window. In the huge new cemetery, some two miles distant, the old people buried their dead, and came back to a house steeped in shadow and silence.

It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of expectation as though of something else to happen something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear. But the days passed, and expectation gave place to resignation the hopeless resignation of the old, sometimes miscalled, apathy. Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to weariness. It was about a week after that the old man, waking suddenly in the night, stretched out his hand and found himself alone. The room was in darkness, and the sound of subdued weeping came from the window. He raised himself in bed and listened. The sound of her sobs died away on his ears. The bed was warm, and his eyes heavy with sleep.

He dozed fitfully, and then slept until a sudden wild cry from his wife awoke him with a start. She came stumbling across the room toward him. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again. The man sat up in bed and flung the bedclothes from his quaking limbs. Her husband struck a match and lit the candle. The old man turned and regarded her, and his voice shook. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now? He went down in the darkness, and felt his way to the parlour, and then to the mantelpiece.

The talisman was in its place, and a horrible fear that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escape from the room seized upon him, and he caught his breath as he found that he had lost the direction of the door. His brow cold with sweat, he felt his way round the table, and groped along the wall until he found himself in the small passage with the unwholesome thing in his hand. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her. The narrator takes it home, but soon begins to fear and loathe the cat, as it amplifies his guilt-feeling. After some time, the white patch of fur begins to take shape and, much to the narrator's horror, forms the shape of the gallows.

This terrifies and angers him more, and he avoids the cat whenever possible. Then, one day when the narrator and his wife are visiting the cellar in their new home, the cat gets under its master's feet and nearly trips him down the stairs. The infuriated narrator attempts to kill the cat with an axe but is stopped by his wife. Failing to take out his drunken fury on the cat, he angrily kills his wife with the axe instead. He seals his wife's corpse in a wall in the cellar. A few days later, when the police arrive to investigate the wife's disappearance, they find nothing and the narrator goes free. The cat, which he intended to kill as well, has also gone missing. This grants him the freedom to sleep, even with the burden of murder.

On the last day of the investigation, the narrator accompanies the still-clueless police into the cellar. Completely confident in his own safety, the narrator comments on the sturdiness of the building and taps upon the wall he had built around his wife's body. A loud, inhuman screaming sound fills the room. The alarmed police tear down the wall and find the wife's corpse. Sitting on the corpse's rotting head, to the utter horror of the narrator, is the screeching black cat. The terrified narrator is immediately shattered completely by this reminder of his crime, which he had believed to be safe from discovery, and the appearance of the cat. As he words it: "I had walled the monster up within the tomb!

At the time, the publication was using the temporary title United States Saturday Post. In the beginning of the tale, the narrator says the reader would be "mad indeed" if the reader should expect a reader to believe the story, implying that he has already been accused of madness. Since the narrator's wife shares his love of animals, he likely thinks of her as another pet, seeing as he distrusts and dislikes humans. Additionally, his failure to understand his excessive love of animals foreshadows his inability to explain his motives for his actions.

One of Poe's darkest tales, "The Black Cat" includes his strongest denunciation of alcohol. The narrator's perverse actions are brought on by his alcoholism , a "disease" and "fiend" which also destroys his personality. Poe owned a black cat. In his " Instinct vs Reason -- A Black Cat " he stated: "The writer of this article is the owner of one of the most remarkable black cats in the world - and this is saying much; for it will be remembered that black cats are all of them witches. The eponymous cat is named Pluto after the Roman god of the Underworld.

Although Pluto is a neutral character at the beginning of the story, he becomes antagonistic in the narrator's eyes once the narrator becomes an alcoholic. The alcohol pushes the narrator into fits of intemperance and violence, to the point at which everything angers him — Pluto in particular, who is always by his side, becomes the malevolent witch who haunts him even while avoiding his presence. When the narrator cuts Pluto's eye from its socket, this can be seen as symbolic of self-inflicted partial blindness to his own vision of moral goodness. The fire that destroys the narrator's house symbolizes the narrator's "almost complete moral disintegration". From a rhetorician's standpoint, an effective scheme of omission that Poe employs is diazeugma , or using many verbs for one subject; it omits pronouns.

Diazeugma emphasizes actions and makes the narrative swift and brief. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Early 20th-century illustration by Byam Shaw. New York City: Norton. Edgar Allan Poe: his life and legacy. ISBN OCLC Oxford UP, Oxford Reference Online. Accessed October 22, Edgar Allan Poe: a critical biography. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved Edgar Allan Poe, A to Z: the essential reference to his life and work.

New York City: Facts on File. In Harold Bloom ed. Edgar Allan Poe.

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