Poe Essay

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Edgar Allan Poe said “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” Throughout his short stories; “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe sets up his characters to subconsciously reveal their insanity. Often using syntax clues and patterns, Poe shows the madness of the narrators of his short stories. The constant theme of denial of insanity further convinces the reader of the character’s psychosis. Characters themselves often prove they are not in touch with reality through their actions. Through syntax, denial of insanity, and character’s actions, Poe allows his narrators in “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” to reveal their own insanity. Sentence structure is used consistently by Poe in his short stories to aid in his character’s revealing their own insanity. When the narrator in “The Black Cat” is listing the pets he and his wife have, the last one he lists is a cat. “We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.” (Poe H/O) The cat is italicized, causing the reader to wonder why the emphasis is so important. As the reader progresses through the rest of the story, it becomes evident that the cat is of a strong significance to the narrator. In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator has some sort of disease that heightens his senses. He also has a type of obsessive compulsive disorder, causing him to fixate on his roommate’s clouded eye. In the beginning of the story, he says “I think it was his eye!-yes, it was this!” (Poe H/O) The short choppy thought pattern here shows the mind of the narrator is less than sound. While in “The Black Cat”, the syntax proof is less obvious, though foreshadowing the story by placing such a subtle hint as to how much the cat really matters in the rest of the story, the grammatical clues in “The Tell-Tale Heart” are much more obvious because they pertain more to the thoughts of the narrator. Listening and paying attention to how speakers and narrators in talk in any text are vital...
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