In-depth analysis of some of the most popular short stories including summaries, character analysis, narrative technique, symbolism and much more.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Summary: The Tell Tale Heart

The Tell Tale Heart Summary
The Tell Tale Heart

The Tell Tale Heart Summary

"The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most compelling short stories which takes the reader into the mind of the mentally insane. "The Tell Tale Heart" opens with a defiant unidentified narrator who protests at the presumption that he is insane. He continues by stating how improved his perception had become using it as a means of defense against the claim of insanity. He begins to describe in vivid detail the murder of an old man, stating that he had no real motive to commit the act, save the victims eye, which greatly bothered him. He begins to brag about how meticulously he went about the act, stalking the old man night after night with his lantern, taking extra care not to alert his victim, and taking as much as an hour to simply push his head through the door to see his victim. The eighth night is particularly exhilarating to the narrator. His victim seemingly sensing his presence, awakes, and never returns to sleep. The narrator states that he is able to sense the victim's extreme fear, and even relates to it, stating that he had often experienced the same intense fear. The narrator realizing that the man has no intention of returning to sleep, slightly turns on his lantern, and sees his victim's eye. A sort of frenzy eventually builds up in the narrator, and he attacks the old man suffocating 

The Tell Tale Heart Summary
Edgar Allan Poe

After committing the act, the narrator takes extreme steps to dispose of the body, by dismembering his victim, and burying him under the floors. The next day he receives a visit from police officers, inquiring about the old man, and stating that they received reports of a disturbance at the house. The narrator being overly confident, invites them in, and even encourages them to search the old man's bedroom. Already thinking that he has gotten away with the perfect crime, he invites them to sit over the very place he buried the man. With the police still present he begins to hear a sound which gradually increases. He identifies it as the sound of his dead victim's heart, and believing that the police officers were aware of it, begins to lose composure. The sound eventually becomes unbearable, and he jumps from his chair, confessing to his crime.

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