Tell-Tale Heart Is a Gothic Short Story Term Paper

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Tell-Tale Heart is a Gothic short story, written by Edgar Allan Poe from 1830 to 1846 in Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia and New York. It was published by the Saturday Visiter in Baltimore, Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and Graham's in Philadelphia, and Evening Mirror in New York. Like Poe's other narrators, that of this short story is not named and, thus, is considered unreliable. He does not admit his insanity but proceeds to relate the details of it.

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Term Paper on Tell-Tale Heart Is a Gothic Short Story, Assignment

The nameless narrator tells the reader that he is only nervous, not mad and that he will relate his story, which will defend his insanity while confessing that he has killed an old man (Poe 1983). He swears that he has killed the old man because he feared the old man's pale blue eye. It was not out of passion or the desire for money. He narrates that, every night, he went to the old man's apartment and secretly watched him while asleep. At daytime, he behaved like everything was all right and normal. This happened for a week. After this time, he decided that he should then kill the old man. He arrived at 8:00 PM in the old man's apartment. But the old man woke up and screamed. The narrator, keeping still, came after the old man who sat, frightened. The narrator says that he could understand the old man's fear as he himself has his share of lonely fears in the night. He says that he heard "a dull pounding," which he interprets as the old man's racing and terrified heartbeat. Apprehensive that a neighbor might hear the loud heartbeats, the narrator attacks and murders the old man. Afterwards, he cuts his body parts apart and then hides them under the floorboards in the bedroom. He took extreme caution not to leave even a drop of blood on the floor. He finished his task at 4:00 AM. He heard knocks on the door. It was the police whom the neighbor had called after hearing the old man's scream. He engages the police officers in a friendly and innocent chat, showing them all over the house without behaving suspiciously. He even takes them to the old man's room, sits down and talks with them right there. The policemen are unsuspecting and find everything normal. The narrator behaves comfortably until he hears a "low, thumping sound." He perceives this to be the heartbeat of the old man, dead and in pieces under the floorboards, where they sit and converse. He turns very frantic and goes into a panic. He turns very scared that the policemen might also hear the low thumping that he hears. The officers continue to chat pleasantly and the narrator interprets this as their mockery of his agony with his conscience. He is driven to the edge of madness and confesses to the murder of the old man. He tells them to rip the floorboards up to find his dismembered body (Poe).

Point-of-View - Like Poe's other narrators, this one speaks in the first-person angle and provides incredible accounts. He controls the narrative and the story is seen by readers only through his eyes. But his meticulous description of his sick actions gives his insanity away, despite a strong denial of it. He is unable to slip of his narrative and perceive his own madness.

Context - Poe's personal life teemed with tragedy and pain. His father left him and his mother just after he was born. At age 3, he watched his mother die of tuberculosis. He lived with John and Frances Allan, rich theatergoers who knew his parents. Frances was also chronically ill like his mother and so continued to be exposed to disastrous circumstances. He had an unstable relationship with John who financed his schooling in England and at the University of Virginia in 1826. He was forced to leave school after two semesters only and he blamed Allan for his stinginess. The truth was that Poe incurred debts because of gambling and this accounted for much of his bad financial shape. He was known to blame others without admitting his own faults. He was especially bitter towards Allan, whom he viewed as a false… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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