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The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe

The Home Theme

"Home is where the heart is." Edgar Allan Poe makes a mockery of this shopworn phrase in "The Tell-Tale Heart," expressing some deep anxieties toward the very idea of "home" (as in the place one hangs one's hat) and "home," (as in the larger community). Here home (in both senses) is a place of violence, death, disease, anguish, and isolation. It's also a place where mysterious hearts tell tales in the night, grim tales, of home gone bad.

Questions About The Home

  1. What image do you have of the inside of the old house? Does it scare you? If so, why?
  2. Is a house a home if you can't trust the people you live with? Why or why not?
  3. Why couldn't the narrator leave the house instead of killing the old man? Does the story give us any clues, other than that the narrator is insane?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" can be used to examine the current problem of elderly abuse.

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