Rat In The Walls And The Tell Tale Heart Analysis

Good Essays
The authors, of “Rat’s in the Walls” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe respectively use their past and childhood experiences to allow a blurring of the lines on whether the narrator is trustworthy in his telling of the story or not. The era, that both Poe and Lovecraft were a part of, was the gothic era where it was the ‘craze’ to write these stories that enticed the fear of the unknown in us. This fear is what allows the reader to question whether it is reliable what they are reading from the narrator or not. In “Rats in the Walls” the narrator, a man by the name of Mr. Delapore, whereas our narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” is an unnamed man. The reliability and trustworthiness of these two narrators rely on the …show more content…
Why do we wish as a species to approach the unspeakable, the unknowable, the vision that, like Medusa with her horrific head of serpents, will prove unbearable”(184). This shows that the fear instilled within us is what keeps us intrigued. As Mr. Delapore went into the depths of Exham, it brought out the demonic natures of his ancestry and he is overcome and awakes with a half eaten corpse of Captain Norrys. This led to him being institutionalized since he ate a man. Also, by today’s standards, a man who lives with nine cats could be considered a little on the crazy or insane category further proving him to be not trusted for information. Secondly, a man who eats others is not a reliable source for a recollection of events. Thus our narrator, Mr. Delapore, turns out to be an unreliable source of narration.

Next, in “The Tell-Tale Heart”, our narrator, who Edgar Allan Poe left unnamed, forces the reader to scepticism about the reliability of the narrator. This is because in the first paragraph he says:
“True! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed – not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily
…show more content…
Brett Zimmerman took another supporting view of the narrator, in his article about “The Tell-Tale Heart” called Frantic Forensic Oratory, in which he says, “‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ is in fact an extended example of what classical Greek and Roman rhetors called antirrhesis”(40). Zimmerman explained that antirrhesis was “the rejection of an argument or opinion because of its error, wickedness, or insignificance”(40). Zimmerman’s take on “The Tell-Tale Heart” analyzes the way that the narrator talks about himself, how the narrator keeps trying to convince the reader that he is not mad. Poe uses the rhetorical statements throughout the entire story. Zimmerman also states that another device is used in “The Tell-Tale Heart”, one that is often used by the narrators of Poe’s stories, “praeparatio (preparing an audience before telling them about something done)”(41). Thus Brett Zimmerman gave enough evidence to convince any reader that this narrator is mad; therefore an unreliable

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Tell Tale Identity Essay

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Another technique utilised by Poe in this story is the repetition of certain phrases throughout the text. Phrases referencing to madness and insanity are constantly woven into the narration even though they are used in denial their presence further reinforces the idea that the narrator is mad but as yet to realise themselves, which only serves to further signpost readers towards the conclusion that yes the narrator is mad and obsessive. The italicisation of certain words within the text is also interesting, often focusing on either the narrator themselves, their actions or what they are focusing on mentally at that point, leading to certain parts of the narration feeling disjointed and often sporadic. As if the narrators mind is struggling to focus upon one thing at a time as the paranoia and ‘nervousness’ that they are experiencing begins to fully take hold of their mental state. All of this repetition and italicisation further implicates the narrator as unstable and having a weak mental state further adding to the construction of identity by the narrator in this text.…

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    When he claims to have heard numerous things in “paradise and hell”, we understand, obviously, that his” superhuman senses” are illusions. (Marie) He found the eye constantly shut, thus it was difficult to take every necessary step, for it was not the old man who vexed him but rather his "Evil Eye." (Poe) The narrator says that he cannot review when the thought of killing the old man entered his brain. He never reveals the correct idea of his relationship with the old man. Both appear to live in the same house, and this would propose a family bond, or…

    • 1086 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    As for Poe, he lived his own horrors; he had known loss all too well, death seemed to follow him like a shadow, and he experienced many other misfortunes. Thus, these experiences, along with his coveted and boundless imagination, gave him quite the competitive edge in his works. In the story of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allan Poe perfectly depicts the inner workings of insanity within the mind of the narrator using the tale’s themes, uncomfortable imagery, and overall ghastly tone. First, he uses two themes; the powerful effects of insanity, and guilt. The main character of the story begins to feel his own madness arise, yet all throughout his telling of the story, he claims he is quite the opposite of mad.…

    • 1085 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Edgar Allan Poe: several critics claim that this man is a wannabe literary author. Because Poe tends to build a fearsome mood throughout his narratives, and strives his best to do so, people are apt to overlook the beauty of Poe’s structure and creativity in his writings. A great hypothesis to why Poe always writes such disturbing tales comes straight from an article written by Carl Goldberg. According to a section of “The Secret that Guilty Confessions Fail to Disclose”, “writing served for Poe as a reflection of his inner being” (Goldberg, 181). Poe seemed to write about many distressed individuals and thoughts; by doing this, he tends to represent his characters as his own self.…

    • 2144 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Edgar Allan Poe allows his readers to examine the characters with his use of an unreliable narrator, the theme of the story, and his unique approach on the lack of character development. Poe’s short story begins with a conversation, and it persuades the reader to continue with the tale. Although, the explanation towards the narrator’s sanity is debatable. The narrators starts feeling a sense of injustice and starts getting agitated.…

    • 2198 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    You get the theme of symbolism psychological fiction, tying in Poe’s various characterizations that stir up a great ordeal about himself. Poe, being a mysterious man himself, embodies the main character, allowing the reader to engage with the author as well as the ‘mad man’ in the story. Although the old man is the victim here, you also get the reader to feel remorse for the old man, almost like feeling remorse for Poe, and what had to have happen to him in order to build himself into the old man. The 18th century was known in the literature area to have gone through a philosophical movement, and Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most influential writers during his time. Still to this day his work is being observed, “The Tell- Tale Hearts” met his theme and the characterization rises to the mark, allowing the reader to bass in the full Poe…

    • 1324 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He tries to send the message that it is dangerous to romanticize people, objects, and situations. In this case, his figure of satire is Tom Sawyer, Huck’s friend. Tom mentions at one point makes a comment about ransoms and how “that’s what they do. I’ve seen it in books (Twain 7).” It is known from Tom that he tends to read romantic novels, and to base of your knowledge off of such a thing can be quite risky depending on the situation. Tom repeatedly brings up his romance fictional novels that he follows dearly by stating, “Why blame it all, we’ve got to do it.…

    • 1007 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Montresor lures Fortunado underground to the “amontillado”. While Montresor is luring Fortunado to his death, the audience can see that Montressor’s actions are very sinister. The reader gets a vivid picture of the damp catacombs that will soon enclose Fortunado forever. Montresor tells Fortunado “’but observe the white web work which gleams from these cavern walls.” Fortunado replies “Nitre?” Nitre would cause any healthy man to have lung problems. In the next line, Montresor says “How long have you had that cough?” Fortunado was already sick and the damp caves added to his illness.…

    • 1072 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    But why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses--not destroyed--not dulled them,". From these first lines, it is possible to feel a tone of hysteria. The narrator claims not to be mad, and simply extremely nervous. He (the narrator) calls nervousness a disease.…

    • 2413 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    – tear up the planks! – here, here! -- it is the beating of his hideous heart!” (Poe 4). According to Cohen, monsters would run away or try some way to escape but, instead the narrator admits to the police of his terrifying and inhumane act. The beating of the old man’s heart caused the narrator to go crazy which forced him to turn himself in.…

    • 1077 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays