Short Story, Paper 2
“A Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” is a story in which the narrator uses great detail to describe the murder of an innocent old man who suffers from cataracts and the narrator’s consistent argument regarding his mental state. It shows the narrator’s attempt to claim sanity to his rather insane or “mad” (Poe) behavior. The narrator truly believes his perception of circumstances to be correct, which creates an alternate reality in his mind. According to the psychological view, the “disease” (Poe) the narrator suffers from is in fact, paranoid schizophrenia, and he is showing very common symptoms such as anxiety, delusions, auditory hallucinations causing anger, and violence. Anxiety plays a large role in paranoid schizophrenia. The narrator’s anxiety is shown many times throughout the story. One symptom of anxiety is to be apprehensive, or nervous. The narrator, in fact, begins the story with “TRUE!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Poe). Next, the narrator goes on to say “It is impossible to say how first the idea [to take the life of the old man] entered my brain, but once conceived, it haunted me day and night” (Poe). Here, the narrator is explaining the obsession he now has to kill the old man. Obsession-compulsion disorder (OCD) is one type of anxiety disorder which includes persistent, recurring thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) or an irresistible desire to perform irrational or seemingly purposeless acts or rituals (compulsions) (MayoClinic). Another example of the narrator distributing signs of OCD is when he states “It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! Would a madman have been so wise as this” (Poe). It may be safe to say, most rational and sane humans would not spend an hour to peek their head into a room. This...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document