Tell-Tale Heart - in class notes

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  • 1. Tell-Tale Heart Edgar Allen Poe
  • 2. Narrator• The narrator’s reliability• His insistence on his sanity• Refers to his “disease”• “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell.”• First Person Point of View – limited to only his POV• Uses “I”• He is an unreliable narrator• Never now who it is – not even the gender
  • 3. Symbolism• In the first person POV narrator must use “I”• He refers to the old man’s “Evil Eye”• He loved the old man• It is his own internal conscience or guilt• It “…it chilled the very marrow in my bones…”• The “vulture eye” has a film over it• It can’t see clearly• Vultures feed from the dead or almost dead• The narrator may feel this way
  • 4. Symbolism• The dark room – rooms are usually symbolic of a stage in life• Every night he puts his “head” in the darkness – his mind in the darkness – this may be a reference to his madness• The lantern shines one beam of light• Light brings knowledge – clarity• When the light shines on the open eye then he decides to kill the old man – killing the “Eye” – killing his “I”
  • 5. Symbolism• He attempts to kill his own guilt when he can see it by the light• The Heart – several references• Right before he kills the old man he pities him but “…chuckled at heart”• He can hear the terror in the old man’s heart, “But the beating grew louder and louder, louder!”
  • 6. The Heart• After he killed the old man “…for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound.”• When he no longer hears the heart he is satisfied he is dead• Places the body (with the heart) under the floor• Yet the beating of the “heart” makes him confess – could not kill his own guilt
  • 7. Tell – Tale Heart• The major theme is guilt• It destroys him as well as his victim whom he loved
  • 8. Vocabulary• foresight• dissimulation• cunningly• sagacity• suppositions• stealthily• dismembered
  • 9. Vocabulary• scantlings• suavity• gesticulations
  • 10. Vocabulary• scantlings• suavity• gesticulations