Literary Conflict in “The Black Cat”

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Literary Conflict in The Black Cat

Example



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Activity Overview


Storyboarding is an excellent way to focus on types of literary conflicts.

Having students create storyboards that show the cause and effect of different types of conflicts strengthens analytical thinking about literary concepts. Have your students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict them using the storyboard creator. In the storyboard, an example of each conflict should be visually represented, along with an explanation of the scene, and how it fits the particular category of conflict.


Examples of Literary Conflict in “The Black Cat”

MAN vs. SELF

The narrator is battling alcoholism, which also sends him into rages of violence against his pets and his wife. After he gouges Pluto’s eye, he is wracked with guilt, which eventually turns to anger, leading him to hang Pluto. The guilt continues as he is unable to accept the affections of the second eyeless cat, and his anger continues to be an obstacle he cannot overcome.


MAN vs. NATURE

The narrator is so confused, guilt-ridden, and miserable that he comes to see the cats as his enemies. The second cat does eventually get the better of the narrator, however, by revealing the murder of his wife, and finally bringing justice to the narrator’s evil deeds.


MAN vs. MAN

The narrator regularly takes out his anger and drunken violence on his wife, but when she tries to stop him from killing the black and white cat, she crosses a line that he will not stand for. In a rage, he kills her for stopping him from putting an end to his misery with the cat.



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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in “The Black Cat”.


  1. Identify conflicts in “The Black Cat”.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.

Literary Conflict Template

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