Tell Tale Heart Literary Devices

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The Literary Devices of Early American Fiction Writers
The literary works of Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe have shaped American fiction throughout history. The innovative use of different writing styles, literary themes, and forms in each of their works have contributed greatly to today’s genres. Writing style is defined in Writing About American Literature as “a distinctive manner of expression; each author’s style is expressed through his or her diction, rhythm, imagery, and so on” (cite). Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe each use their own distinctive writing styles to provide insight about a topic communicated in a work, or theme. They then display their styles and themes using various forms. By analyzing these
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Published in 1843, The Tell-Tale Heart is about a man being questioned by the police about a shriek heard by a neighbor. The story is told by an anonymous narrator trying to convince the reader of his sanity while describing how he murdered an old man with a filmy “vulture eye”. The symbolic imagery Poe uses to describe the eye of his victim is a stylistic component of the story. Another key component Poe uses is irony. For example, Poe sets the scene of the interrogation in the same room where the crime was committed. The narrator writes that, “in the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them [the police officers] here to rest from their fatigues; while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.” (Baym 717) In this sentence, the narrator seems fairly confident that he will get away with murder – and he seems to have already convinced the authorities of his innocence – but by the end of the story, guilt and paranoia kick in and the narrator confesses to the crime without the police having to pry in the least bit. Dan Shen writes that “[the narrator] hears the increasingly loud beating of the old man 's heart, and takes it that the policemen have also …show more content…
As previously stated, the narrator’s guilt and paranoia are what led to his confession of murder, but he did not feel guilty until the end of the story. In fact, he seemed very confident that he would get away with his wrongdoing throughout most of the story. His paranoia was initially directed towards the chances of the old man waking up as he plotted to kill him, and thus helped him commit his crime swiftly and silently. Towards the end of the story, he is paranoid that the policemen can hear the dead old man’s heart beating beneath the floorboards and that they knew he had murdered him, leading to his confession. The entire story revolves around the theme of murder, from the contemplation of murder, the plotting of murder, the act of murder, and ultimately the consequences of

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