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'The Tell-Tale Heart' Analysis
Transcript of 'The Tell-Tale Heart' Analysis
what is crime fiction?
what are the sub-genres of crime fiction?
different periods of crime fiction
About the Story
short story by Edgar Allan Poe
published in January, 1843
combines fiction, crime, horror and romanticism
Brief Outline of the Story
murder of old man by first-person narrator
repeatedly tries to convince us he is not mad, only 'over-acuteness' of the senses
frightened and bothered by old man's 'Evil Eye'
sneaks into old man's room at midnight for seven nights
eight night - murder by suffocation
hides body under floorboards
policemen investigate and admits to the deed because of guilt
insanity and madness
impact on a person
cunning and cleverness
Method of Narration
by first-person narrator
metaphor - 'eye of a vulture'
simile - 'his room was as black as pitch'
rhetorical question - 'why would you say that I am mad?'
repetition - uses word 'watch' several times to emphasize that death is on the way
personification - 'death had chosen the old man'
hyperbole - 'the evil eye' - very important in story to justify the murder
apophasis - 'I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad?'
Old man's eye
The Old Man
Point of View
from murderer's point of view, so first-person narrator
biased and unreliable
neurotic and inconsistent
emphasizes insanity of narrator
old man's home during the night
probably urban area
narrator while telling story is probably in mental hospital
with inner sounds and old man's eye creates...
external conflict -
only way to get rid of such tension is to kill the old man
not based on series of events, leading to a murder
central theme is actually the state of mind of the narrator that explains the murder in this story
beginning - narrator introduces himself to reader, convinced he is not mad
body - narrator is infuriated by the old man's eye and visits his room for seven nights
climax - the eight night; murder; hiding the body
conclusion - policemen arrive; guilt; confession
Poe and Gothic Fiction
less focused on elements, more on character psychology
main elements in story are:
Horror - deals with murder
Romantic - strongly expressed emotions
Mystery - mysterious setting, dark environment, cover-up of corpse
About the Author
19th century American author
magazine editor, literary critic and novelist as well as poet and writer
born in Boston, January 19th 1809
1812 - taken in by John Allan, tobacco merchant
forbidden from writing poetry
1826 - left to attend University of Virginia
influence in Gothic horror genre and poetry
many of Poe's characters are insane
wrote a humerous ballon article - hoax
'The Raven' (1848)
Death is a mystery
Died October 7th, 1849
writing career includes 70 poems, 60 short stories and one novel
Main Characteristics of Early Crime Fiction
general opinion - began with Edgar Allan Poe, 'father' of detective genre
lasted approx. from 'Murders in the Rue Morgue' (1841) to the 1920s when the Golden Age began
predominant number of detectives were male
"...masculine heroism and rationality that solves crimes and restores social order..." (John Scaggs,
Scaggs, J. (2005). Crime Fiction. 1st edn. New York: Taylor and Francis Group