Tell Tale Heart : Thesis Statement

All throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator creates a huge build-up that keeps the reader imprisonned in its suspense. He does this by using a large amount of figures of speech, such as repetition, simile and metaphor.

For instance, the use of repeated words creates a great deal of tension, like when he says; “I undid the lantern cautiously-oh so cautiously-cautiously (for the hinges creaked) [...])”, and “It was open-wide, wide open [...]”. The narrator also sets up an eerie, bizzare atmosphere by mentionning things like “All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim.” Even with his similes, he manages to keep the reader’s attention by almost forcing him/her to anticipate what will happen next; “A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. [...]”, or “It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage. [...]”

The most important part of the whole story, for me, is the fact that he repeats one of his previously said sentences; “[...] There came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton”. The two contexts in which he says the same sentence are so different and yet complete each other so well that it outlines a standpoint, a sort of conclusion to the story. One in which he admits that he’ll never be able to keep what he did to himself.

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