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Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" through Path 1: The narrator is insane

Topic # 1: The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe

Choose one of the topics provided and then pick one of the paths through which you will analyze the story. Be careful to maintain your focus on your chosen topic/path, 
only mentioning details or ideas that relate to and support your analysis. Remember, an essay is not a summary of the story.

Your essay should follow the guidelines provided and discussed in class. Your essay should include an original title (includes the title and author of the story as well as 
the topic), an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs that support your thesis, quotations from the text that support your analysis, a conclusion, and a work
cited page. Your essay should follow MLA style. 

Remember that you should only use the story itself as your source. Do not seek help from other sources, such as study guides or essay sites available on the Internet.

Topic # 1
The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat," the narrator blames his current situation on two black cats he has kept as pets. Why does the narrator blame his cats for his actions when he is clearly responsible? 

Path #1: The narrator is insane 
Path #2: The narrator is trying to manipulate the reader

Topic # 2
The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe
The main character in "The Black Cat" is an unreliable narrator, a narrator who is also a character in the story. The narrator presents the reader with an outlandish 
story, which he swears is true. Should readers trust the narrator's story or not?

Path # 1: Yes, the narrator's story is trustworthy

Path # 2: No, the narrator's story is not trustworthy

Topic # 3
The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe
The narrator claims to be telling his story to “unburden his soul,” but this may not be the real reason. Why is the narrator telling his story?
Path # 1: The narrator is trying to prove his innocence.

Path # 2: The narrator is trying to escape execution. 

Topic # 4
The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman John is very dismissive of his wife's condition and concerns throughout the story. As both her husband and doctor, he should be far more attentive to her needs, so why does he behave this way?

Path #1: John dismisses the narrator's concerns because he is a doctor. 
Path #2: John dismisses the narrator's concerns because he is her husband and a man.

Path #1: The narrator is insane

Topic # 5
The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman It is clear as the narrator recounts her version of events in her diary that her mental state rapidly deteriorates throughout the story, with her becoming increasingly delusional. Since she is an unreliable narrator, the reader may already doubt her version of events. Her deteriorating mental state casts further doubt on her story. Therefore, should readers trust the narrator at all?
Path # 1: Yes, readers can trust the narrator's story.
Path # 2: No, readers cannot trust the narrator's story. 

Topic # 6
The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman The narrator often defends John’s behaviour by saying that he is so strict with her out of love. However, much of what she describes does not seem to be the behaviour of a loving spouse. Why does John behave this way towards his wife?
Path # 1: He does not really care about his wife
Path # 2: He does care about his wife, but he is misguided. 

Topic # 7
The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin Omelas' inhabitants believe that a child's suffering is necessary to maintain their happiness. They can either accept the child's suffering as justified and stay or reject it and leave. Which side is correct and why? 
Path # 1: The child's suffering is justified.
Path # 2: The child's suffering is not justified. 

Topic # 8
Ursula Le Guin's story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" is written in an unusual way. The narrator asks readers to imagine Omelas however they wish 
rather than simply describing what it is like. Why does Le Guin choose to do this?

Path # 1: Everyone has their own ideas of what a perfect utopia would be like, so there is no one way that she could describe it. 
Path # 2: There is no such thing as a perfect place, so it is impossible to describe it

Topic # 9
The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin The narrator states that those who walk away from Omelas do not stop to talk to anyone or gather their things before leaving. Why do they leave without telling anyone?

Path # 1: They are afraid that other citizens will stop them. 
Path # 2: They are too horrified by the situation to talk about it.

Topic # 10
Araby" by James Joyce The narrator's fantasy of what the Araby bazaar will be like sets him up for disappointment. However, his reaction seems exaggerated. Why does the narrator 
react in this extreme way?
Path # 1: The narrator realizes that Mangan’s sister only speaks to him out of duty like the woman at the stall.  
Path # 2: The narrator realizes that he has been using fantasy to cope with his bleak environment. 

Topic # 11
Araby" by James Joyce In "Araby" by James Joyce, the narrator lives in a very bleak world. How does this 
affect his behaviour in the story?
Path #1: The narrator's bleak environment leads him to escape through fantasy. 
Path #2: The narrator's bleak environment leads him to overreact to disappointment. 

Topic # 12
Araby” by James Joyce The narrator talks about his feelings for Mangan’s sister in highly romantic and religious terms. He describes himself as a knight on a quest while she is a holy object like a chalice. He prays to her as if she is saint. Why does the narrator describe his feelings in this way? 
Path # 1: Due to his religious upbringing, the narrator can only understand his feelings in religious terms. 
Path # 2: The narrator exaggerates his feelings in order to escape from his bleak daily life. 

What am I looking for in this assignment?
1. Analysis: you should provide an analysis of the story rather than a summary of the story. 
2. Focus: You need to remain focused on your chosen topic and path. Do not stray into unrelated topics and ideas. 
3. Structure: your paper needs to follow the overall structure and style discussed in class. 
4. Clarity: your writing should be easy to read and understand. 
5. Grammar and syntax: your writing should follow the rules of grammar and syntax discussed in class. Penalties and Reminders All take-home assignments are required elements of the course.

Failing to hand in an assignment will result in a mark of NP in the class, which is a failure calculated at 40%. 30 or more grammatical errors = 45%
Referring to outside sources (anything other than the story itself) without 
permission = 10% penalty 
Late papers = 5% penalty per day late
Late papers will only be accepted up to 5 days after the due date unless you have 
received an extension. 
If you need an extension, please contact me as soon as possible. Extensions are not 

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