Point of view is important to any story, because it can help create the mood, and setting of a piece. “The Tell- Tale Heart” is a good example of this. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” Poe uses first person point of view to create suspense and tension, while letting the reader try to discover the thoughts of the narrator.
Throughout the story, Poe is careful about how he portrays his words. The way he does portray them creates a sense of suspense that makes you feel as if you are observing the whole event, frame by frame.
In this story, Poe states “For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime, I did not hear him lie down” (63). In this example, his words are described in such vivid detail that you picture this scene perfectly. Another example includes when Poe uses such phrases as, “It was open-wide, wide open-and I grew furious as I gazed upon it” (63).
The use of repetition in the first-person point of view helps to stir some emotions of the unknown. It creates the suspense of not knowing what will happen next. By using the first-person point of view, Poe was able to show how the narrator feels.
An example of this is when the narrator uses the phrases at the beginning to question his existence. The narrator wanted to know if he was mad, or not.
Phrases such as “I heard all things in the heaven and in earth” (62), tells the reader that the narrator indeed is mad, yet the narrator thinks himself not. In the following statement, “If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body” (64).
This in turn helps the reader form their opinion that this man is mad. Poe brilliantly uses the first-person point of view to his advantage in this story. It brings out many feelings in the reader’s mind. Without the use of this point of view, this story would not contain the clarity and suspense it does.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Tell-Tale Heart. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Sixth ed. Ed. Lisa Moore et al., New York, NY: Harper Collins. 1995. 61-65.
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