Poe’s Tell Tale Heart
By, Tristan Martin
Of the three short stories, The Cask of Amontillado, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and The Tell Tale Heart, I found The Tell Tale Heart, by far, the most interesting, exciting, and horrifying of them all.
In the Tell Take Heart, I found it fascinating how the narrator never named himself. This approach of never naming the narrator adds a whole new aspect of insane horror to the story. Since Poe never names him, nor describes him, it just lets your imagination run wild with crazy ideas about, who he is and what he looks like. The times he would reach his head through the door, shaking with apprehension, so he could glare down upon the vulture-eyed man, the object of his obsession, was just plain creepy. And, he would mutter to himself about his prowess and about how stealthily he would look through that door. Just reading this part of the story grabbed me. It was so twisted I just had to keep reading.
The narrator says that others call him mad, but he protests that a mad man could never have done what he did.
“You fancy me mad, mad men know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded.”
The narrator is insisting so emphatically over and over that he is sane that I instead was assured that he is very deranged.
Of course in the end, he kills the vulture-eyed man. I saw that one coming, but I didn’t think he would take such grotesque measures. With the utmost care, he slowly cut up the old mans body making sure all of the blood dripped into a bucket so as not to stain the floor. With a tender respect, he pulled up the floorboards and placed the pieces of the man under the floor. Then he carefully replaced the floorboards so as not to leave a trace and began methodically preparing tea that he laid out on a table directly over the spot where he pulled up the floorboards. Then he sat waiting. When I finished this story, I double-checked to make sure I was reading a recognized piece of literature and not some outlandish horror novel.
The Cask of Amontillado was also horrifying, but it lacked the graphic depth of The Tell Tale Heart. As for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow I just found it dull and longer then it needed to be. I wouldn’t even deem these other stories worthy of being placed in the same category as The Tell Tale Heart. These other stories are good. They’re just not quite as intense or detailed. The Tell Tale Heart has so much more to offer with its vivid descriptions and amazing terror that adds so much to the story.