This paper examines several short stories by Edgar Allan Poe that feature the motif of immurement, the practice of imprisoning a victim within walls. Poe uses immurement in “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” to suggest psychological suppression as the narrators physically hide their victims while simultaneously hiding their own self-destructive natures, which he refers to as “perversity.” His stories “The Imp of the Perverse” and “The Cask of Amontillado” convey that attempting to suppress one’s capacity for self-destruction only guarantees self-destruction. Poe’s motif of immurement demonstrates how human beings tend to ignore their inherent perversity, but his stories reveal how this denial of perversity leads to self-destruction.
"Letting the Cat Out of the Wall: Irrepressible Perversity in Poe,"
The Criterion: Vol. 2022, Article 5.
Available at: https://crossworks.holycross.edu/criterion/vol2022/iss1/5