Wide Reading Task #1 (The Tell Tale Heart)

“It was impossible to say how the idea first entered my head. There was no reason for what I did. I did not hate the old man; I even loved him. He never hurt me. I did not want his money. I think it was his eye”

 

The Tell-Tale Heart written by Edger Allan Poe is a great short story of a man who we do not know the name of and his mental state throughout the killing of who we know as the old man. Narrated in the first person, the narrator indicated how the old man (well rather his eye) disturbed him. The narrator’s ultimatum was that he was tempted to kill the old man to get away from the eye an example of this is ” I did not hate the old man; I even loved him. He never hurt me. I did not want his money. I think it was his eye”. After a lot of consideration the narrator gets too worked up by the eye and kills the old man and quickly ‘disposes’ of him under the floorboards of the old man’s house, and later feels too guilty that he killed the old man that he confesses to the police to what he did to the old man.

 

The Tell-Tale Heart is a dark and gloomy story that I enjoyed. I believe that what the author was trying to get across how our emotions can dictate our lives and ‘persuade’ us to make irrational choices for example; at the start of the short story the narrator says “It was impossible to say how the idea first entered my head. There was no reason for what I did. I did not hate the old man; I even loved him. He never hurt me. I did not want his money.”, this shows that he had no reason to kill the old man, but then goes on the say “I think it was his eye. His eye was like the eye of a vulture, the eye of one of those terrible birds that watch and wait while an animal dies, and then fall upon the dead body and pull it to pieces to eat it. When the old man looked at me with his vulture eye a cold feeling went up and down my” this shows his discomfort of the “vulture” eye, and how it dictated the narrator to kill the old man. The narrator get’s so worked up by the eye that his negative emotions that it prevents his rational thinking, he doesn’t think of the consequences of his actions. This is one of the emotional qualities that we find in gothic protagonists and one way identify them, the way he makes decisions based on emotions, not rationally. We see this a lot in the real world as well as in the world of fiction, people sometimes make (if not always) make decisions based on how they feel and don’t really think of the consequences of those decisions, for example, a person might save a person for a tricky situation instead of staying out of it and not getting involved, the person listen to his feelings/emotions to make that decision to help another person. I think making decisions based on emotions is sometimes good but in the Tell-Tale Heart the narrator should not have based his decision on his emotions, he should’ve thought of the outcomes and looked at the problem rationally.

What I found interesting was the amount of knowledge that we know of the narrator. We virtually know nothing about him, we don’t know his name his age or his relationship with the old man, the narrator says that “I have been ill” but we have no idea what type of sick. He has an ‘air of mystery’.We can only make assumptions. This is another thing that I think that the author is trying to introduce to the audience,  since we know nothing about the narrator when he is saying he is ill or when he kills the old man, we automatically set up an assumption about this narrator, but what if he wasn’t like this before the story what if the narrator was just a kind and simple being and we made the assumption that he is evil.

In the world today we still are very emotional beings and we sometimes let emotions dictate our lives that we don’t think of the consequences that we might suffer.  And we all have that ‘air of mystery’ we all have something that we keep hidden, you think you know everything about your best friend but you don’t there is bound to be one thing you haven’t told them. This short story just showed me the enhanced ways of the world, the author took these little qualities in people and overexaggerated them.

One Comment

  1. Hi Ayla,

    Thanks for getting your response in on time to receive feedback.

    You have a strong identification of the gothic features that you wish to discuss in your response and these are supported by clear and relevant evidence.

    I would like to see you be more specific in your personal response to the text and look to make further comments around your reaction to the author’s intentions. You could look into the social context surrounding your chosen text to add depth to your response.

    Mrs. P

    Reply

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