“The Tell-Tale Heart” Analysis
The "Tell-Tale Heart" is an American classic. The teller of Poe’s tale is a classic unreliable narrator. The narrator is not deliberately trying to mislead his audience; he is delusional, and the reader can easily find the many places in the story where the narrator’s telling reveals his mistaken perceptions. His presentation is also deeply ironic: the insistence on his sanity put his madness on display. The first paragraph alone should provide fertile ground for readers to find evidence of his severe disturbance. The effect of this story is powerful and successful. Poe creates the mood of tension and anxiety within the first few lines and then builds it to the end of the story. The text states, “TRUE!—NERVOUS—VERY, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” Poe uses the first-person narrative to allow the audience to identify with the narrator, which also increases the suspenseful effect. In the narrator's voice, we experience his psychological breakdown. The reader can feel the sense of urgency from the beating heart, even though we know that the beating isn't real. Elements such these what Poe uses to aid his literary techniques, which altogether can define this literature as being timeless. It isn't only Poe's techniques that make this a popular story; the experience of the narrator, while beyond the normal experience, is presented in a very believable way. Most readers can identify with being freaked out by some small thing, and can also identify with the overwhelming feeling of guilt that manifests in the beating heart. It is a scary horror story because it so close to being real. The narrator's rational explanation of the murder helps to underline this sense of reality. This horror story is actually about the demise of two men. It is not just a masterful portrait of madness but an example of how guilt can make an already crazed man even crazier. The narrator asserts "I heard all...
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