The sense of control is a basic human need. (1) It is like a security blanket to a young child, it provides them with a sense of protection and comfort; but just like a security blanket, when it is taken away, they become very uncontrollable. In The Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator gives the reader an account of events leading up to him killing his neighbor. In the very beginning of the narrative, the narrator tries to persuade the reader into believing that he is not insane. His attempts to assure the reader of his sanity fail because his actions do not coincide with a person who is not insane. He claims that the eye of the old man, his neighbor, is “evil”; therefore he must be killed. The short story The Tell-Tale Heart, draws on the obsession with the old man’s eye, but the theme is reflected in “time” and control of the events leading to murdering the old man.
Although time is unlimited in a scientific perspective, when examined on a universal perspective; time is exceedingly limited. As mentioned before, the mental illness of the narrator brought to the reader’s attention in the beginning of the story. This revelation allows the reader to foreshadow the narrator’s “breakdown”. The narrator’s constant need to assure the reader that he is not a “madman” allows the reader to assume that this is not the beginning of the story, but the end. The narrator shows later stages of a mental illness, delusions and hallucinations. This helps the reader no longer question whether there will be a breakdown, but it makes the question when will he have his breakdown? Time was an essential key to this story because it allowed the reader to follow a mentally ill person’s road to losing full control of their thoughts.
The narrator’s loss of control happens before the story begins, but he tries to regain it by eliminating something that intimidated him. The reader learns of the old man, the narrator’s neighbor, through a skewed perception of the narrator. The narrator claims to...
Cited: (1.) Pittman, Thane S.; Zeigler, Kate R.Kruglanski, Arie W. (Ed); Higgins, E. Tory (Ed), (2007). Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (2nd ed.). , (pp. 473-489). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press, xiii, 1010 pp.
(2.) Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Tell-Tale Heart." Ed. Paul Negri. Great American Short Stories. Minelo, New York: Dover Publications, 2002. 13-17. Print.
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