Total Effect: Tall-Tale Heart

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Irony, Short story Pages: 2 (905 words) Published: February 6, 2011
Edgar Allan Poe is most well known for his imposition of a total, underlying effect that a story builds up to, leaving the reader completely inebriated by that effect. The reader is able enjoy this story is because you can begin to absorb, and finish the entire story in one sitting, allowing the instant, acute nature of his desired total effect to set in. To create this total effect, Poe relies heavily on sensory imagery, such as sound, sight, smell, etc. One of the elements Poe uses in his style of writing is darkness. The main body of the story takes place in the middle of the night when it is pitch black. The narrator illustrates the darkness of the night best when he says, "His room was black as pitch with thick darkness.” It is aware that the fear of the dark is universal and thus appeals to his readers by weaving this theme into his work. By using what he knows we fear, he is able to get into our minds and pull at our souls. The element of darkness may also be symbolic of the narrator himself because of his inner depravity. The man is a very evil, neurotic, and calculating person. However, the narrator did not always feel this way, for he himself states, "I loved the man. He had never wronged me.” He explains his rationale by saying, "Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and by so many degrees, very gradually I made up my mind to take the life of the old man and rid myself of the eye forever.” subconsciously the man feels threatened by the eye and knows no good will come from his being exposed to it. However, we can see how the narrator’s life rapidly worsens when he lets himself become overtaken by his obsession. A common fear shared by everyone is of being murdered. Murder is the most violent crime we can commit against another human being. The narrator draws us into the murder scene by a step-by-step recounting of the action, “With a loud yell I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once–only once. In an instant I...
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