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Comparison of The Fall of the House of Usher and The Telltale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe - Essay Example

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The author examines “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe which is told using first-person narratives and possesses similarities that have to do with the mystery and suspense of the action, differences still abound with regard to tone issues of the story.   …
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Comparison of The Fall of the House of Usher and The Telltale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
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Download file to see previous pages The tale of the House of Usher is told by a narrator who discovers much of the story's substance as the tale unfolds. Nevertheless, he is considered sufficiently trustworthy, as his thoughts are coherent and he feels the mystery of the situation as much as the reader comes to feel it in the earliest moments of the story. The fact that he is so affected by the simple yet strange things in this setting startles him as it intrigues the reader. He considers this fact "unsatisfactory," and that places him in the realms of sanity and garners the trust of the reader. The narrator of "The Tell-tale Heart," from the very beginning, startles the reader with a very abrupt and spastic attitude that gains the immediate mistrust of the reader. The very form of the text is broken by dashes, as the narrator introduces the possibility of his madness in the very first sentence. He goes on to mention "the disease," which further confirms his untrustworthiness. The result of this is that, while the reader unites his interests with the narrator of "The Fall of the House of Usher," the same reader is inclined to feel no sympathy for the narrator of "The Tell-tale Heart." The tension of the suspense is increased in the former tale and decreased in the latter because of the difference in sympathy levels for the two narrators.
A mysterious atmosphere exists in both the tales, though the nature of the mystery and reasons for suspense differ. The language and setting used to create these atmospheres are largely responsible for the existence of these differences. On the one hand, "The Tell-tale Heart" is granted a certain psychological mystery as the uncertainty lies in what actions might proceed from the mind (and body) of the narrator. In contrast with this, the mystery of the House of Usher occurs outside the narrator and any dangers present are almost as likely to happen to him as anyone else. The psychological constitution of the narrator of the Tell-tale heart is revealed through the author's use of the language, as he gives the impression of the narrator's picking motives out of thin air.      ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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