How Does Poe Create Tension and Suspense in ‘the Tell-Tale Heart’?

799 Words Nov 14th, 2011 4 Pages
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) was a Gothic writer he wrote over 100 books and poems.’ The Tell-Tale Heart is a story where Poe uses detail, exaggeration, choice of words and the time of day to keep us reading on the edge of our seats. Those are just a few ways which makes the story a good read. When the story first opens we are dragged right into the action, when he is protesting to what we believe is a wrong doing, These words are the classic case of "The lady doth protest too much" and the reader wonders why the narrator tries to explain himself so much, we wonder what he could of done, the suspense begins
First, his use of first person instead of third starts building up the suspense; right at the beginning we are introduced to the
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Then when the light falls on the eye and it is open, after the eighth night, the old man sits up and startles our narrator. This is filled with tension! Punctuation Is another way in which Poe creates a lot of the tension and suspense, i.e. Hyphens, he uses hyphens in many different places , one is ‘I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight’ when we read it we realize that the narrator is jumpy and he had a crazy “like” state of mind. This adds to the tension and suspense in the story.
Poe also uses Rhetorical Questions this challenges the reader and then makes the reader ask themselves the question, because it is hard to find the answer; ‘ How then am I mad?’ When the narrator asks this question you don’t know the answer because from what you have previously read you think he is mad on the other hand you have novellal evidence. Poe uses a lot of direct confrontation, he uses the word ‘you’ a lot ‘You fancy me mad…But You should of seen me’ etc. when reading the passage, if you are losing concentration and you the word ‘You’ your dragged back into the text again.
Also most of the story is very exaggerated and plausible, although we know it is exaggerated we still become tense when reading it, this is because the way the story is written tricks us into believing its real when we know it’s not. The beating of the heart, whether real or imagined, gets louder and louder as the narrator's hysteria increases. This effect underlines the

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