Hello once again! Today I’m going to be relating the concept of ‘mood’ to Edgar Allan Poe’s life, his short story “The Black Cat”, and haunted places!
In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Black Cat”, he uses different moods. At first, it seems semi-cheery, a man is happily married and since they both liked animals, they had quite a few pets. One of those pets was a black cat, no markings on it, just pure black. One day, though, the mood takes a turn for the worst. The narrator, in a drunken rage, puts out one of the cat’s eyes. He feels quite bad after that so the mood is very somber/melancholy. A few days after that, the narrator, who is in yet another drunken state, decides to hang the cat and put it out of its misery. So, that cat dies and the narrator is very gloomy and regretful. This makes the mood even more somber, as the narrator is just wandering around. A few more days later, the narrator comes across another black cat, only this time with a white spot on its chest. He takes the cat in and is sort of happy for a day or two, but then he starts to develop a distaste towards the cat. The cat follows him around nonstop, annoying the narrator very much. One day, the narrator decides to kill the cat! He grabs an axe and goes to kill the cat, but when he swings the axe it hits his wife instead, because she had thrown herself in front of the axe. This makes the mood even worse, leaning more towards dark rather than somber/melancholy. The narrator goes absolutely crazy, and hides his wife in the wall. The cat then is missing for the next few days.Then, when the police come three days later, he goes downstairs and flaunts that his house is very sturdy and knocks on the portion of the wall his wife is behind! A strange wail comes from behind the wall and the police take it down, and t he cat is discovered on top of the wife’s head. This story had an overall dark/somber mood, and is also closely related to Poe’s ‘Tell-Tale Heart’, and his life.
These moods relate to Poe’s life mainly because of the tragic experience he had. His father left when Poe was born, and just two short years later his mother died, leaving him an orphan, He was sent to the Allan’s house, but when Poe got older, he was estranged from his foster-father, leaving him unable to continue attending the University of Virginia. A couple of years later, Poe’s foster-mother died in 1829. A couple of months afterwards, he was discharged from the U.S. army. Also keep in mind his girlfriends keep leaving him in some way, some by death/travels, or some by choice. He then decided to go to West Point, which he was soon kicked out of as well. So, Poe wasn’t able to hold down a good education, and he couldn’t hold down a job either. After this, he started writing books and publishing/selling them, probably one of the highest points in his life, which isn’t saying much as he still had a problem with alcohol, family, jobs, and girlfriends. Finally, he married. It was his first cousin, Virginia Clemm, that married Poe. They were married in 1844. There was no huge tragedy until Virginia died in 1847… Just a short three-year time being married. Poe ended up dying in 1849, jus two years later. So, as you can probably tell, Poe’s life was very somber, gloomy, dreary, sad, melancholy, dark, or whatever other mood relating to these or synonymous to these you can think of, which relates to both Poe’s life, many of his short stories/poems, and haunted places!
You may be wondering how these moods relate to haunted places, but the answer is in fact quite simple! Haunted places usually have a dark or gloomy feel to them. The back stories are usually very somber or melancholy, as they usually involve homicide or suicide. Also, when it’s a malevolent spirit doing the haunting, the mood will most likely be very dark, as well as the gloomy and dreary moods adding in. Other things adding to the dark/gloomy feel is the fog or the mist in the sky, and it’s also often storming or set at nighttime. The setting is very important to the mood as well. Whether it’s raining, night or day, fog, mist, water nearby, any of those things add into the mood. You also have to consider how old the house is, if the floorboards squeak easily, anything of that sort all ties into the mood. I hope you discovered just how much mood is related between these things-if you said it’s a lot, you are definitely right!!