Term Paper: American Literature Edgar Allan Poe- the Tell

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American Literature

Edgar Allan Poe- the Tell- Tale Heart

Poe's odd but brilliant story, the Tell-Tale Heart revolves around two main issues: madness and reason, or how these two can paradoxically coexist in the human mind. The story is but one of Poe's many pieces that describe a monomaniac disorder. Both monomania and crime are related through their irrationality. The monomaniac narrator of the story is obsessed with the vulture eye of the old man who will eventually become his victim. As he emphasizes in the beginning, his disorder cannot be defined as madness because of his precision of purpose and execution. His disorder is described only a heightened sense of perception, that makes him hear and see more than the average man, paired by an acute and uncommon nervousness. While the narrator is able to think coherently and plan his murder meticulously, he is obviously driven by an irrational obsession. At first, he is distraught with nervousness and almost oppressed by the old man's vulture eye. During his night watches in the old man's room however, the protagonist of the story becomes even more agitated because of the loud beating of his victim's heart that in his imagination acquires incredible proportions. His nervousness increases thus irrationally, until he commits murder. Poe is thus an avant-garde scrutinizer of the Freudian subconscious: he understands that the human mind is a complex mechanism, in which reason is often undermined by irrational and primitive instincts. Even if the situation in Poe's story is very uncommon and the disorder described is a very peculiar one, it can still find application in real life. The battle between reason and irrationality is one that I also find in my own life, even if to a lesser degree, since we all struggle with instincts and irrational drives at every step.

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is well-known for her allegorical poetry, in which nature plays a major role. Many of her poems are thus filled with metaphors and symbols taken from nature, such as birds, butterflies or insects. In one of these pieces for instance, Dickinson compares hope with a bird, obviously drawing on the bird's ability to sing and fly high in the air, soaring above the storms: "Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul, / and sings the tune -- without the words, / and never stops at all..." The fact that the bird sings "without words" is significant because it emphasizes the irrationality of hope as a feeling. The last stanza however twists the meaning of the first… [END OF PREVIEW]

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American Literature Edgar Allan Poe- the Tell.  (2008, January 17).  Retrieved August 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-literature-edgar-allan-poe/6378575

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"American Literature Edgar Allan Poe- the Tell."  Essaytown.com.  January 17, 2008.  Accessed August 19, 2019.