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    Reflective Response – “The Telltale Heart” Essay

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    Poe, Edgar Allen. “The Tell-Tale Heart. ” Retelling: A Thematic Literature Anthology. Deeds. Clarke, M. B. And A. G. Clarke. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2004. 404-407. The narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” insists that he Is not mad, but his actions and narrative voice seem to Indicate otherwise. What evidence of madness do you find In his behavior? His style? As you are thinking about the latter, you might want to pay special attention to the metaphors he uses and to the sounds and rhythms of his sentences. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” Poe demonstrates, potentially, what is portrayed as a victim of a mental illness.

    The narrator of the story however constantly reminds us that he is not mad, “How, then, am I mad? ” (404) HIS claim that he is In a perfect mental state Is countered by the mysterious events that seem to be happening to only him. The setting of the story is one to take into consideration. Most obviously it is being told in the past tense form from the first person view. It is from the killer’s perspective. While reading the story, one could picture a shriveled criminal in a padded cell repeating his case and opinion to no one but the air that surrounds him. HIS madness and persistence of Innocence Is the only thing driving him.

    The behavior exampled in Pope’s story Is quite odd In some circumstances. Beginning with the second paragraph the killer describes his fondness for the old man “l loved the old man,” (404); the second half of the paragraph he described yet how he hates the old man’s eye and wishes to get rid of it forever through death, “l made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever” (404). From this point the beginning of the odd behavior begins. His actions are not shown in great detail over the next seven days, only briefly spoken about In a paragraph.

    Every night e would enter the chambers of his master and shine the light upon his bedding, hoping to catch a glimpse of the eye that so vexed him. The killer does not spend time upon this scene for long, as he quickly ushers us into the main act- the horrific deed that he performs. This is in fact the way most killers think after their actions. They reside upon the event greater than they do the events that surround. He is almost wearing the story as a badge, saying that “Yes. I killed my master and his eye. ” The way the narrator is speaking gives off a strong impression of anger, nervousness ND guilt.

    The way he stumbles about his sentences, making statements that are random and out of place. Giving information about what he thought at the moment, “l went down to open it with a light heart, – for what had I now to fear? ” (406); “I smiled, – for what had I to fear? ” (408). Nearing the end, the tension grows as the sound of the heart aggravating him, “Yet the sound increased – and what could I do? ” (408). It’s hard to understand the position that the killer is in due to lack of supporting evidence. In nowhere of the poem does Poe show back-story, motivation, r any crucial pieces of information that could change the meaning of the story.

    By using this tactic, Poe lets the readers minds wallow in the supposed depth of his story. What is interesting to note is the lack of speech in the work. At no point throughout is there any conversation between any of the portrayed characters, until the last lines where the villain confesses. It is as if a silent movie was being watched and in the last lines sound was introduced. This could in fact be Pope’s way of showing the guilt overtaking the victim until resistance was futile and his will was shattered.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Reflective Response – “The Telltale Heart” Essay. (2018, Oct 20). Retrieved from

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