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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Poes Black Cat, Poes TellTale Heart - Term Paper Example

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The Three Unreliable Narrators in the Literary Pieces of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe The three main unreliable narrators in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat and The Tell-Tale Heart significantly reveal a deeper side of truth…
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Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, Poes Black Cat, Poes TellTale Heart
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Download file to see previous pages By and large, the three unreliable narrators fairly tackle the distinction, if not the confusion, between truth and illusion; and it is the task of the readers to uncover the tale and not the teller. What the main protagonist calls the devil, Victor Frankenstein’s monster thoroughly tells his creator the story about the things and events that occurred to him. Unlike the two unreliable narrators in Poe’s stories, Frankenstein’s devil does not intend to persuade his listener that he is not mad. At the deeper level, however, Frankenstein’s monster subtly attempts to convince his creator that he is also a human being capable of reasoning and comprehending the things around him. On the other hand, the unreliable narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart tries to convince his audience, through speech, that he is not mad or crazy. Said narrator argues to his audience -- as if they are there and hearing his argument -- that he is not mad for several reasons. First, he is mentally healthy because his “sense of hearing [is] acute” (Poe 110). Second, his way of telling the story is done in a calmly manner. And third, he is not mad because, as the unreliable narrator contents, he performed the work with caution and foresight. In The Black Cat, the unreliable narrator presents the wild yet homely narrative without any expectation from his readers to believe what he will say. Like the narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart, the unreliable narrator here makes a defense for himself that he is not mad: “Yet, mad am I not” (Poe 58). But unlike The Tell-Tale-Heart narrator, the unreliable narrator in The Black Cat provides no reasons as to why he is not mad. His primary purpose, though, of writing down the story is to “place before the world … a series of mere household events” (Poe 58). Frankenstein’s monster as a narrator is unreliable primarily because of the vividness of his narrative; the apparent paradox here is that the monster is created by a scientist and, at a brief span of time, able to speak and think in an intelligent and mature way. As a modern-day reader, it appears contradictory to hear or read Frankenstein’s monster speaks clearly and rationally. In The Tell Tale Heart, the narrator is unreliable for the reason that his argument is unsound. When he said that his sense of hearing is acute or sharp, the narrator refers to this acuteness as the ability to hear “many things in hell” (Poe 110). Moreover, his contention that he narrates the story in a calm manner is strongly contradictory to his last statement: “... here, here!--It is the beating of his hideous heart!” (Poe 113). The narrator in The Black Cat is unreliable when one reads his line: “[M]y very senses reject their own evidence” (Poe 58). As the story unfolds, the unreliable senses of the narrator become much apparent. In the last episode, for instance, the narrator tries to find the black cat -- whom he calls as the beast -- in an endeavor to “put it to death” (Poe 63). After murdering his wife, the narrator fails to find the where-about of the black cat. Finally, when the wall crumbles down where his wife is laid, “the monster ... [is] within the tomb” after all (Poe 64). The purpose of the unreliable narrator in the story is to allow the readers to think for a moment about the reality or truthfulness of the narrative. Lawrence said to “[t]rust the tale, not the teller” (qtd. in Pacheco and Meyers 71). This implies that the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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