The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide

The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide

Original title:
The Tell-Tale Heart

“The Tell-Tale Heart” is a perfect example of Edgar Allan Poe’s beliefs about how the story should be written. It is short, concise, can be finished in one sitting, and relates to many readers. How many times do people feel annoyed by little things? And how many times do you actually do something about it?

The novel fascinates readers with its simplicity and intrigues the minds from the very first page. The language is simple, the monologues are trivial, but the impression it creates is unforgettable. And even though from the very beginning the reader can predict the end of the story, yet you will still feel surprised when the last page turns. 

The novel is narrated by a character whose name we never find out. He is anxious and nervous. He has a neighbor that annoys him. It’s all about his facial features that can’t let the narrator in peace. So he decided to get rid of his obsession by killing the old man. 

The planning of the murder consists of seven consecutive nights in which he visits the old man’s room while he as asleep. On the eighth night, an unfortunate even happens – the old man wakes up and it’s the sight of his eye, the thing the narrator hates the most, that provokes the violence. 

The descriptions of the process how the main character loses his mind deserve a separate praise. The whole story is a way of the narrator to prove that he isn’t insane and he never was insane. His cruel actions had a good enough reason and he confessed to prove it. The author uses few words but chooses them carefully. 

The reader will find himself worrying for both sides: the victim and the perpetrator. There are no concrete names and no locations are named, but we know that a story like this could happen anywhere with anybody if we only act on the emotions that boil inside us.

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