Short Story Review: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart was first published in 1843 and is a short story by the American writer Edgar Allen Poe. It was then subsequently published as part of Poe’s Book – Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

The story is told by an unnamed narrator that tries to convince the reader that he is not mad but provoked and haunted by the ‘evil’ eye of the old man, taunted almost, and to rid himself of the eye, he must murder the old man that he loved very much. It follows him as he walks us through his calculated and cunning plan to commit the murder, all while declaring his sanity.

What I really like about Poe’s works, is that you can expect his narrators to be unreliable, making the reader unable to really know whether to trust him or not. In this case, the narrator is trying to mask his true intentions and feelings by his attempt to prove his sanity by exercising dissimulation. What’s to say he isn’t using dissimulation on us too?

What I think is both a strength and weakness of The Tell-Tale Heart is Poe’s style of writing, it can be quite maddening, with his short sentences leave me with questions as to the meaning, and his longer sentences are precisely worded and descriptive. It is so carefully worded, which highlights Poe’s exquisite talent as a writer, that it highlights the angle of the narrator’s chaotic mind.

I really like Poe’s work, and I have a copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination. What I will take forth with me from this piece was his narrators’ deception and use of dissimulation, I like that the reader doesn’t know whether to trust what he says as truth or not.

Poe, E.A. (1843). The tell-tale heart. Retrieved from

https://www.poemuseum.org/the-tell-tale-heart

Short Story Review: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

The Cask of Amontillado features in Poe’s collection of short stories, Tales of Mystery and Imagination published in 1919, however, the story was first published in the November 1846 edition of Godey’s Lady Book, which was the most popular periodical at the time.

It’s a tale of terror starring two main characters: Montresor and Fortunato. Montresor is the narrator and the murder, Fortunato is the wine connoisseur and the victim.

The story begins with Montresor explaining that a man called Fortunato has wronged him a thousand times over, but his insult is the final blow that provoked the Montresor to vow revenge. He continues to assure us that he has given Fortunato no warning to the fact that he is planning to kill him and plans to use his knowledge of wine to lure him to his death.

I was unaware that a writer could have a perfect piece of writing, but this particular short story is known as Poe’s perfect piece, it has each piece of information, each step of the plot, being intentionally prepared and executed. Poe actually called this the unity of effect, where everything is relevant, especially each part of the plot.

What I learnt and will take forward with my writing is the way in which Poe writes Montresor as the unreliable narrator, because the Montresor has named himself to be judge, jury, and executioner of Fortunato, deciding his guilt and punishment without proof. His unreliability overrides the rational need for evidence. And I like that although carnivals can provide happiness, there is an allure of mystery, and provides the perfect setting with its abandonment of social order, for the murder.

Poe, E.A. (1846). The cask of amontillado. Retrieved from https://www.poemuseum.org/the-cask-of-amontillado

Short Story Review: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart was first published in 1843 and is a short story by the American writer Edgar Allen Poe. It was then subsequently published as part of Poe’s Book – Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

The story is told by an unnamed narrator that tries to convince the reader that he is not mad but provoked and haunted by the ‘evil’ eye of the old man, taunted almost, and to rid himself of the eye, he must murder the old man that he loved very much. It follows him as he walks us through his calculated and cunning plan to commit the murder, all while declaring his sanity.

What I really like about Poe’s works, is that you can expect his narrators to be unreliable, making the reader unable to really know whether to trust him or not. In this case, the narrator is trying to mask his true intentions and feelings by his attempt to prove his sanity by exercising dissimulation. What’s to say he isn’t using dissimulation on us too?

What I think is both a strength and weakness of The Tell-Tale Heart is Poe’s style of writing, it can be quite maddening, with his short sentences leave me with questions as to the meaning, and his longer sentences are precisely worded and descriptive. It is so carefully worded, which highlights Poe’s exquisite talent as a writer, that it highlights the angle of the narrator’s chaotic mind.

I really like Poe’s work, and I have a copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination. What I will take forth with me from this piece was his narrators’ deception and use of dissimulation, I like that the reader doesn’t know whether to trust what he says as truth or not.

Poe, E.A. (1843). The tell-tale heart. Retrieved from

https://www.poemuseum.org/the-tell-tale-heart