The Tell-Tale Heart

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My 10th Lit/Comp class is having each student create three .ppt files for three different short stories.
A total of three will be uploaded.
This is the first.

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The Tell-Tale Heart

  1. 1. The Tell-Tale Heart by: Edgar Allan Poe NICOLAS ESPINOZA JUNE 24, 2008 10TH LITERATURE/COMPOSITION
  2. 2. Biographical Facts Born into a family of two parents and two siblings in Boston on January 19, 1809.  Father: David Poe Mother: Elizabeth Arnold  Small time actors who could barely afford to live  Brother: William Henry Leonard Poe (older)  Date of birth unknown (thought to be between January 12 and February 22, 1807)  Was also a poet  Sister: Rosalie Poe (younger)  Born in December, 1810  His father abandoned his family in 1810, and his mother was due to die a year after of  tuberculosis.  Edgar Poe was taken into the house of John Allan, merchant of tobacco in Richmond, without any of his siblings, who were taken into different homes. It is believed that the Allan family treated Poe well, albeit that they refused to let him see William; even though they didn’t formally adopt him, this is where Poe granted himself his middle name, Allan.  He attended the University of Virginia for a year.  Although the Allan family was quite well off as far as money goes, they did not provide him with enough money to continue his studies. Poe was forced to gamble, lost heavily, and so his gambling debts further separated him from the Allans.
  3. 3. Biographical Facts  He assumed the name of Henri Le Rennet (possibly after his brother Henry) and moved to Boston in 1827 where he wrote Tamerlane and Other Poems. Sadly, Poe was still poor, so he had no choice but to join the US Army (assumed the  name of Edgar A. Perry). He achieved the rank of Sergeant Major after two years of service. In 1829, Fracis Allan, Poe’s foster mother died. This event led to Poe’s foster father to  attempt to settle his differences with Poe upon a dying wish. John Allan was able to allow Poe to enter the US Military Academy at West Point. In 1830, Poe attended West Point without “making up” with his foster father. John  Allan later disowned after constant arguments of his second marriage. Poe was sent to military court for protesting and not attention his classes at West  Point. Secretly married his cousin, Virginia, in 1835, and then publicly announced the ritual  in 1836. In 1842, his cousin-wife broke a blood vessel which led Poe to become an avid drinker  due to stress. In 1847, Virginia died from tuberculosis. This event led Poe to become quite unstable,  and he began to drink even more so than in 1842.
  4. 4. Plot
  5. 5. Roller Coaster  The plot line of this story is not much like that of other short stories- it is not a normal distribution Exposition-> rising action-> climax->  falling action-> resolution.  It is more along the lines of a roller coaster  Exposition-> rising action-> climax-> falling action-> rising action-> climax-> falling action-> resolution
  6. 6. Summary  It all begins with a man who tells us that he shall prove to us how he cannot be a madman for madman cannot think logically. The man then takes us on an extended flashback that lasts either throughout the story (if he’s sitting in a prison cell explaining this to us) or until the last few paragraphs (if he’s thinking this as he hears the heart beats). Disregarding the primary setting, the flashback takes place in The Victim’s home. The Murderer narrates how logical and precise his plan was.
  7. 7. Summary  He begins by slowly spying on The Victim’s vulture eye every night until, on the eighth night, he finally decides to enter the room. After a series of drawbacks, such as The Victim’s waking up, he succeeds in killing The Victim and hiding his body. Shortly afterwards, three policemen show up as his door and explain to him that they had gotten a report of a man screaming. The policemen check his house and find nothing, and then they politely sit in The Victim’s room to chat. The Murderer begins to hear the heartbeat of The Victim and ultimately snaps; he declares that he is responsible for the man’s death, and the story ends.
  8. 8. Characters
  9. 9. The Murderer  Some may call him a madman, some may call him perfectly sane- a man with a plan. He works for victim, or at least aids him from time to time. The Murderer attempts to prove his sanity by narrating this tale. It is possible that he believes that The Victim is constantly doubting him, and stares him down.
  10. 10. The Victim  One can assume that this man is quite rich; because, The Murderer had no desire for his “gold.” One could also say that The Victim is not arrogant in the last for “he had never wronged” The Murderer. It is possible that his man is old, for there could be little other reason as to why he’d allow someone in his house at the late hours of day.  The Victim’s eye lead him to his death.
  11. 11. Minor Characters  The “Caller”:  Not much is known about this character, only that he had called the policemen to The Victim’s humble home.  The Policemen  Three hearty fellows who went to The Victim’s home for a report, but stayed to chat after investigating.
  12. 12. Point of View  This story is narrated in first person point of view.  “I, he, she, they, etc.”  It is narrated by The Murderer
  13. 13. Setting  The story takes place in The Victim’s home in the duration of eight days.  This story can be considered a very long flashback, for The Murderer switches from present to past tense.  The narrator focuses on the hours of the night, particularly midnight.
  14. 14. Exposition  The Murderer begins by introducing himself as a completely sane fellow.  He begins to prove himself sane by saying that a madman could never have pulled off what he had done. No madman could plan things so very carefully.  The narrator the explains why he did it- the Evil Eye. He explains that he did not do his deed out of spite or for money, but because the Evil Eye haunted him.
  15. 15. Rising Action  The first rising action occurs when The Murderer begins to constantly check on The Victim during midnight. The Murderer carefully opens the door every night, very  slowly. He very carefully opens that door as if possessed by a deity of precision.  One can say that the second incident in which the tension builds up is when The Policemen show up. They begin searching the house, and the reader might expect  them to find the corpse of The Victim.
  16. 16. Climax  The first climax can be when The Victim hears The Murderer. The Victim begins to console himself by saying that it must  have been some type of critter, but refuses to return to his slumber.  The second climax is when the beating heart of The Victim replays itself within The Murder’s mind. The Murderer begins to speak more loudly to The Policemen in  order to dry out the noise.
  17. 17. Falling Action  Although this story contains two climaxes, it only contains one falling action. The second climax leads to the resolution, rather than a falling  action  It is when The Murderer finally kills The Victim and proceeds to hide the body. He hides it underneath the wooden floor- so well, that not even  the Evil Eye could have noticed.
  18. 18. Resolution  After the beating heart reruns enough times, The Murderer finally snaps. He admits to the crime, for he cannot bear the beating heart any longer. He believes that The Policemen can hear the beating heart of  The Victim, and that they are simply mocking him while speaking to each other.
  19. 19. External Conflict  The only true external conflict is between The Victim and The Murderer.  The Murderer uses physical strength to kill The Victim and to hide his body.
  20. 20. Internal Conflicts  The story begins with an internal conflict as The Murderer tries to convince himself of his sanity. Never quite resolved, for The Murderer seems to be debating  his sanity until the very end.  Later we see that The Murderer keeps thinking about whether or not he should kill The Victim. Resolved when he decides to kill him on the eighth night.   Another internal conflict is when The Murderer begins to hallucinate the beating of The Victim’s heart. Resolved when he admits to his crime. 
  21. 21. Themes  Murderers cannot truly sleep at night due to extended thoughts.  Do keep your doors locked and try not to trust people to stay in your home after you’re asleep.
  22. 22. Literary Elements
  23. 23. Rhetorical Questions  A rhetorical question is a figure of speech meant not to ask a question, but rather to spark readers into thinking about a subject- concur or deny.  The short story opens up with The Murderer asking us questions that he obviously does not want us to answer.  “Am I mad?” he asks, but he truly means, “I will show you why I cannot be mad, simply try and disagree with my absolute logic.”
  24. 24. Similes and Metaphors  Similes and metaphors are both figures of speech that are used to describe something by comparing it with something else. Similes use the words “like” or “as” while metaphors do not.  The most commonly used metaphor is the one of comparing the man’s eye with the eye of a vulture, powerful birds that usually eat corpses.  Poe uses a simile when describing his opening of the door when spying on The Victim.  “So I opened it --you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily --until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.”
  25. 25. Dialogue  For a lack of a better term, I will point out that this story used only about five phrases spoken by characters. It is odd for short stories not to have dialogues.   quot;It is nothing but the wind in the chimney --it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” is used to show the fear of The Victim.
  26. 26. Vocabulary Words
  27. 27. Hearken  Definition:  An archaic term that means “to listen” or “pay heed to what I’m saying.”  Sentence:  The school teacher shouted, “Hearken!” while giving a lecture to the student who was sleeping on his desk; consequentially, she also dropped a 10lb. book on the side of the desk that was not occupied by his face.
  28. 28. Refrain  Definition:  To hold one’s self back  Sentence:  The man being tortured for information refrained from showing fear to his enemies and, shortly after he could not bear the pain, bit his lip.
  29. 29. Suavity  Definition:  An agreeable quality  Sentence:  The young mediator showed great suavity as he tried to form an agreement between the two parties.
  30. 30. Connections
  31. 31. Insomnia  The Murderer seems to be unable to sleep shortly after he becomes aware of the vulture’s eye. Although I have no killer instincts, I too cannot sleep at night much. This may be partially due to my addiction to electronics, or perhaps it truly is something that I cannot help.
  32. 32. Deep Thought  Often when I do something, I will continuously think about the event for several hours. This may be another reason as to why I do not sleep much, but, irregardlessly, I will overanalyze a situation until it is fully rationalized.
  33. 33. Regret  At times, I regret things that I do. This is mostly when I cannot fully rationalize my actions. I will then apologize as to attempt to rid myself of the annoyance that is regret— much how The Murderer confessed as to rid himself of the beating of the heart.
  34. 34. Assessment  Score: 9  This story takes the reader on a journey through an unstable man’s murdering scheme. Not only does it show us how confident humans can be of their abilities and how easily one can plan things scientifically, but it also shows us how human emotion and regret can get the better of us.

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