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Suspense and Irony in “the Tell-Tale Heart” and “the Gift of the Magi”

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Suspense and Irony in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Gift of the Magi”

The two short stories “A Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe and “The Gift of the Magi” by O’ Henry were two short stories that showed the writing skills of their authors. O’ Henry and Poe were two writers from different time periods, but use the same literary techniques in their works. Irony is defined as “a contradiction between expectation and reality” and suspense as “the growing interest and excitement felt while awaiting a climax or resolution.” O’ Henry and Poe used either suspense, irony, or both to make their stories more intense for the readers. “The Gift of the Magi” is centered on two main characters Jim and Della. It is a Christmas themed story in which a poor couple find themselves in a difficult situation when looking to buy presents for each other, when they find out them both have no money. Jim’s pride and joy is a golden watch and Della’s most prized possession is her hair. But when they both go to buy presents for each other they both sell their most prized possessions to buy gifts. When they show each other there presents they are shocked to find Della bought a chain for Jims watch, and Jim bought combs for Della’s hair! The irony in this story is that they both bought gifts for each other, which they could no longer use. It uses a specific type of irony called situational irony it is defined as “an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience.” The author used this type of irony to surprise the readers, and directly relate it to the biblical story of the three magi. It adds a sense of humor when the readers find out what they did, but also a connection towards the characters feelings. But how could irony and also suspense be used in the other work? The story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is centered on a man (no name is given) who explains how he killed an old man. The story starts off with the man...