How is the Tell Tale Heart an effective short story? Essay Sample
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Introduction of TOPIC
The writer of this story, Edgar Allan Poe, believed that short stories should be read in one sitting so that the meaning of the story would not be interrupted. In addition he believed that the reader should look for the meaning of the story and that if the meaning was too obvious the writing was no longer an art. Also he believed that a work should have one specific effect. And he strictly believed that there should be nothing unnecessary on the page. He also noted that short stories were superior because the information in the short story could be taken easily while, when reading a novel you would need to breaks, which could disrupt the meaning of the story in the reader. Also what makes an effective short story is when the story gets right into the plot and hooks you effectively and doesn’t have the build up like in a novel and it has to be concentrating one hundred percent on the plot not drifting which as a result also drifts the reader’s attention to the story.
The main effect that of Edgar Allan Poe, the author, intended was that of morbid curiosity. Morbid curiosity is when you know something bad is going to happen but you know you cannot help it. The narrator, who is also the murderer in the story, said: ” I undid the lantern cautiously – oh so cautiously (for the hinges creaked) “. The word cautiously provides suspense and in addition it hints to the reader that something bad, inhumane is going to happen.
Also when someone is assassinated they are assassinated cautiously so the victim cannot escape what is going to happen to him or her. In addition the murderer, who mystifies us by not telling us if it is male or female, stated: ” for a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime, I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed, listening: just as I have done night after night hearkening to the death watches into the wall “. This quote shows that the poor old man who had this ” Evil Eye” did agonisingly know that he was going to be murdered and not have a peaceful death despite a very long life and that he could not help it. And this makes the reader feel sympathetic with the old man.
The author of this very good effective short story created suspense very well. For example in the
Therefore in a novel you could build up suspense in pages and pages. In addition Edgar Allan Poe believed that you should be able to read a short story in one sitting. In addition the rhetorical question ” am I mad? ” emphasises the suspense, in that quote. Also the author drip feeded the continual question of the narrator’s madness through out this short but very effective story to create a sense of morbid curiosity in the reader. He used the present tense so that the reader does not know what will happen and that he or she will feel some discomfort. By using ” I ” the narrator puts us in his or hers mind. As well as using the rhetorical question he involves the reader and creates curiosity.
In the story the author hooks you from the beginning really well. He does this in the first two sentences in the ” Tell Tale Heart “. There is a one-word sentence, a semi colon and a rhetorical question. The narrator also tells us how he feels. In addition, Edgar Allan Poe tells us how the murderer feels like and he went right into the action. The narrator gave the impression that he is mad by saying: ” TRUE! Nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? “. He, the writer did this because he needed to hook the reader very quickly from the beginning or this short story would have been very boring.
Edgar Allan Poe believed that short stories should be short enough to be read in one sitting. Short stories should be short enough so that they could be understood and taken in by the reader. However, for example if you read in one sitting up to ” the officers were satisfied ” and then you would go to sleep. Then the next day you would continue reading but your understanding will be distorted and you would have wasted your time by reading. I say that because stories are there to be understood. In addition in the end of short stories there is plenty of action and all if this has to be taken in and understood. And this is how short stories when being read in one sitting become very effective. And could become popular because the context of the text is being understood.
As I conclude I would like to say that I think that “The Tell Tale Heart” is a very effective short story. Poe’s ideas about short stories are definitely evident in this short story. Moreover the main effect of this story is felt all over the story, which is of course “morbid curiosity”. The author, Edgar Allan Poe created suspense very effectively and made the story a role model for other writers to follow. In addition he hooked the reader very well. Also the length of the story was nearly perfect, if not perfect. Personally I think it was a huge success as it was the first story that would go down the “Gothic Horror genre”. But I do not think it is as successful now as it was before because many authors have expanded on what he has done and have significantly gone a step further. Also he has used vocabulary that is unknown to us and do not appeal to people now.
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