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For two stories of The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe and Miriam by Truman Capote, both protagonists are influenced by their powerful thoughts and mental issues, which cause by different objects from the outward world and the inner struggles. In the first case, the alcohol finally leads the character into the dark abyss tragically. For the second one, the hallucinated girl, Miriam, changes the life of the protagonist and seizes her deepest fears and ideological battle inside.
To begin with, the character in The Black Cat is impacted by the conflict and struggle between himself and the external world. It is the reason that his mind and emotions have been changed while his drinking abuse becomes more and more serious. He tells that he gets along with animals since his childhood life, he even thinks that the people surrounded are “paltry friendship” and the pets are more “fidelity” than humankind. Nonetheless, his mind changes after he is introduced to alcohol, which is the external object that influences his personality and humanity. The first characteristic is that he kills his favorite cat brutally and even “cut one of its eyes from the socket.” After this action, he feels barely guilty but still regrets with mere sympathy. The thing goes worse when he actually kills the first cat and meets the second cat, which looks the same but has a bit different on the neck. It also reflects his morbid state of mind. Through his view, the fur on the cat’s neck is a “gallows’, which means the character could see his sin but alcohol is extremely strong and sink to his soul and mind, also makes him becomes evil and eventually kills his wife.
On the other hand, Mrs. Miller in Miriam experiences differently than the character in The Black Cat. Her loneliness is the weapon that impacts her mind and causes her mental illness, which means that she has an external struggle in the entire story. The allusion of Miriam is the most reliable evidence that could demonstrate her mentality. She describes and found herself that ‘there is nothing more disturbing than a sensation of darkness.” It is a noticeable warning that how empty her heart is. Her changed mind becomes more dramatic after she meets Miriam, she feels “oddly excited” at first because of the appearance of Miriam, but after she goes to her house and takes away her jewel case, she starts to panic and become “feverishly agitated”. Finally, the allusion that she creates by her mind haunts her at the end, and the eventual appearance of Miriam shows that her shallow emotion and infirm thoughts would never fade away.
To sum up, these two characters also have some similar situations while they experience their minds changed. Both of them are eventually murdered by their mental problem. The character in The Black Cat reflects his mental illness because of his addiction to alcohol. He needs an outside force in order to self- medicate, and to numb him through drinking. For the second story, Miriam is a creature that appears in her old year’s life, which could represent that her life is running out, the massive loneliness that surrounded in the atmosphere makes her feel unbreathable. Moreover, the sensation of choking makes her terrified, and she could feel the loss of every single life while staying with Miriam. The struggles and conflicts in two protagonists’ minds were the strongest power that collapse their mental fortress.
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