Compare and Contrast in Edgar Allen Poe

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Edgar Allen Poe’s use of the first person narrative in The Tell-tale Heart is much more effective than Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of the third person in Young Goodman Brown because the use of the first person in Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart allows the reader to feel the narrator’s panic while the third person narrator in Young Goodman Brown only tells the story and the reader does not feel the main character’s feelings. By telling the story of the Tell Tale Heart in the first person, Poe allows his readers to see the build up of the main characters insanity with the use of language and crazy and rambling dialogue. On the other hand, Hawthorne’s use of the third person simply narrates the story and tells of Brown’s feelings rather than having the reader identify with Brown.

In Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the third person narrator to tell the tale of a young man who sets out on a walk in the evening. Before he leaves, his wife of only three months begs him to stay home and begin his journey in the morning but the young man refuses only saying, “What my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we have but three month married.” The reader does not know Goodman Brown’s feelings. The reader does not know the tone behind the words. Is Brown annoyed with his wife for doubting him, does he find it funny that she will miss him and he will only be gone a short while or does he feel badly that he is leaving her alone when she asked him to stay at home with her. If Hawthorne had given a clue as to what lay behind Young Goodman Brown’s words, the reader would have been able to feel more connected to Brown on a personal level. In order to want to continue reading a story, a reader needs to, on some level care about what happens to the main character in the story. In using the third person narrator, the author does not allow the reader to feel connected to the main character. The third person narrator gives the facts, not the feelings. He is...
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