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Compare And Contrast Poe'S Use Of Point-Of-View In Each Story

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Poe's short stories, "The Masque of the Red Death", "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" are written in different view points. The view points used helps each story achieve its effect upon the reader. The third-person point of view, helps the reader to foreshadow all the events taking place. The first-person point of view, heightened the intensity of the story itself. If each stories' view point were changed along with the narrators, then the effects intended upon the reader would not have been reached.

Using first person point of view is significant in that it allows the reader to engage in the thoughts of the narrator and, thus, make a conclusion about his or her character. In Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," the reader can conclude based on the thoughts and remarks of the narrator that he is crazy. The narrator reveals his anxiety toward the reader and other characters several times throughout the story. For instance, he begins the story by saying, "How then am I mad?" and , "observe how healthily--how calmly I can tell you the whole story" (Poe 382). The narrator tries to prove his sanity when the reader has not yet had the opportunity to make any kind of judgment. In addition, the narrator claims to be so mentally distresses with the old man's evil eye that he has decided to commit murder. The narrator fears that the old man's eye can see how mad the narrator real is. In the end of the story the narrator actually proves to be insane, and the narrator is overwhelmed by the old man's beating heart and shouts, "and now--again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!" (Poe 385). All this shows how Poe employed his point of view to achieve its effect to the reader. The story is being told through the narrator, clearly stating the narrator's insanity to the reader. If the story was told through the eyes of other characters such as Roderick in "The House of Usher", the reader would be unable to get the true picture of the sanity of the narrator.

In "The Fall of the House of Usher", the story itself is affected by the use of the first person as the basic point of view. The narrator spends the first paragraphs reflecting on his past with Roderick. Near the end of the story, Roderick calls the narrator a "madman"; "Madman! I tell you that she now stands within the door!"(Poe 404). However, he's the only one who managed to escape the real madness as the house crumbled. This point of view allows the reader to understand the meaning of the story; that is, the inner working of the human imagination. But, at the same time, cautions us about the destructive dangers it could have for the mind. In Roderick's case, his imagination suppresses the reality and has for only results madness



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