彭郁雯 01121133 英一A
Introduction to English Literature and American Literature, Tue 78 Paper1: The Tell-Tale Heart
Oct, 23, 2012
The Symbol in “The Tell-Tale Heart”
According to the Norton Introduction to Literature, the definition of symbol is that” A symbol in a work of literature compares or puts together two things that are in some ways dissimilar. A symbol in literature usually carries richer and various meanings, as does a flag or religious image. And because of its significance, a symbol usually appears or is hinted at numerous times throughout the work” (Booth 209). Thus, symbols are used in literature to represent something more than the literal aspect itself. They can come in the form of phrases, colors, objects or events. Through this, the writer can effectively suggest unsaid ideas and meanings to the audience. The use of symbolism serves as clues by the author, to infer something more or a deeper meaning. Therefore, this essay is going to analyze this story by interpret symbols appeared in the story “The Tell Tale Heart.” In the story, the narrator claims that he is not mad, but his behavior, thought and words tell a different story. The narrator is determined to kill the old man in the story, not because jealously or animosity but because “one of his eyes resembled that of a vulture- a pale blue eye, with a film over it” (Poe, The Tell Tale Heart). The narrator put the subjective feeling on the eye; the narrator said the old man’s eye is an “Evil Eye” (Poe, The Tell Tale Heart). An eye is covered by a veil or film; it symbolically means that the narrator has issue with the “inner vision”－what is commonly known as one’s outlook on the world. So our reading of the story is through the eye which is defined by the narrator. Then, when we read the story, we will be leaded by the narrator’ subjective feeling through what the narrator call an” Evil Eye” (Poe, The Tell Tale Heart). So, one of the old man’s eyes symbolizes...
Cited: Booth, Alison and Kelly J. Mays, eds. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 10th ed. New York: Norton, 2010.
Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”
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