Angela L. Rhea
American Literature I
February 28, 2013
The Narrative Technique of Poe’s Horror Stories
Edgar Allan Poe writes “The Black Cat” (695) and “The Tell Tale Heart” (691) in a narrative voice. In writing the stories he uses the narrator to tell about what happened and the acts that were involved when he did what he did. When telling the stories in first person as Poe did, it is hard to determine the real from the false in this type of narrative, as it was with Poe too. He told his stories from the mind of a madman, per se. He tells both stories from the mind of a mentally ill person or from a diseased mind as in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. (The Tell Tale Hears, 692)He talks about his disease, referring to his alcoholism being a mental disease. He proves many times throughout the story that he is a mad man. He talks about killing the old man because his eye reminded him of a bird, just the craziness of the human psyche. Poe has a way of showing and defining the human psyche in a demonic fashion. And yet at the same time act like he is not mad and that is what any normal person would do if they are bothered by something or someone. And he shows realism in doing these acts because of how he shows the human emotion in “The Tell Tale Heart”: “Yet for some minutes longer, I refrained and kept still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the hear must burst. (The Tell Tale Heart, 693) When he was describing the guilt he had after killing the man. He thought it was his heart beating when in fact; it was his own heart pounding and pounding. These events support the idea that he is mad and confirms the fact that we do not know the reliability of the story at all. Edgar Allan Poe chose to tell his stories the way he did so that he would give the impression that he was not trustworthy. This works towards his...
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