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Telltale Heart Lit Analysis

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The Tell-Tale Heart

A Literary Analysis

Like many of Poe's other works, the Tell-Tale Heart is a dark story. This particular one focuses on the events leading the death of an old man, and the events afterwards. That's the basics of it, but there are many deep meanings hidden in the three page short story. Poe uses techniques such as first person narrative, irony and style to pull off a believable sense of paranoia.

In this particular story, Poe decided to write it in the first person narrative. This technique is used to get inside the main character's head and view his thoughts and are often exciting. The narrator in the Tell-Tale Heart is telling the story on how he killed the old man while pleading his sanity. To quote a phrase from the first paragraph, "The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story." This shows that we are in his thoughts and are observing every action. Even though he claims that he is sane here, the tone and events that follow clearly state otherwise.

Poe's economic style of writing is a key instrument in making this story amazing. In this story, he uses his style to truly bring out what he intended for the story - a study of paranoia. In example, "I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture -- a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever. " it is easy to see that Poe used short sentences, to capture the rapid thoughts of a twisted mind.

Perhaps the biggest element in this story is the use of irony, both verbally and dramatically. For verbal irony, we can see clearly at the end that what the narrator tells the officers and how he acts on the outside, (in a "cool manner", as he puts it) is much different than the chaos on the



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