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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Tell-Tale Heart

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The old man's eye is blue with a "film" or "veil" covering it. This could be a medical condition, like a corneal ulcer, but symbolically it means that the characters have issues with their "inner v...

Setting

We don't know where the narrator is while he's telling the story of the old man's murder. The story he tells us takes place inside a random old house about which few details are directly given. We...

Narrator Point of View

Most Poe narrators are unreliable first person narrators. This doesn't necessarily mean they don't show up when they say they will, but rather that they either can't or won't tell us what really ha...

Genre

Horror or Gothic Fiction is one of the easy genres to spot, and also one of the most fun to explore, as long as you don't mind looking at the hard stuff. Snapped minds, crypt-like spaces, actual cr...

Tone

While some Poe stories have a kind of fun and playful feel to them in spite of their themes of death, murder, and betrayal, "Tell-Tale" makes us want to cry. The narrator is so pathetic and, as we...

Writing Style

Stylistically, Poe can be quite maddening, even as we marvel at the precision and at the tightly packed, exquisitely worded, yet curiously rough sentences – each open to hours of debate. With...

What's Up With the Title?

At the most obvious level, the title refers to the beating of the old man's heart. The heart "tells tales" to the narrator. Tales, as you well know, are stories, and can be based on either real or...

What's Up With the Ending?

As the Invisible Man, in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man says, "The end [is] in the beginning." As in that novel, chronologically speaking, the end of "The Tell-Tale Heart" actually takes place befor...

Plot Analysis

Not insane! and the "Evil Eye"The narrator wants to show that he is not insane, and offers a story as proof. In that story, the initial situation is the narrator's decision to kill the old man so t...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

The old man's has a creepy eye.Our hero, the narrator, has been harassed by the old man's eye for too long (though we don't know how long). So, the narrator decides to get rid of the man, to get ri...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The narrator wants to prove his sanity by telling us a story from his past. The first act of that story deals with eight nights in the life of the narrator. The first seven nights are pretty much t...

Trivia

"Cooping" is one of many rumors about Poe's death; it's even weirder than it sounds. Learn more here. Poe's body was moved from its original burial site and reburied. (Source)Apparently, Poe was co...

Steaminess Rating

Sorry, folks. If you are looking for sex you'll either have to do some serious reading between the lines or find another story.
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