Comment on the techniques used by Poe in the short story ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and evaluate Poes success in the creating a supernatural story.

A young man who loathes another man because of his vulture like eye decides to kill him at night, while he sleeps. Poe uses derelict houses, death, darkness and night time which are all part of the gothic genre. To understand the story you need to know about the cultural, historical and social side of the story.

Poe’s short story was influenced by Jack the ripper and the white chapel murders also at that time scientists were experimenting with drugs such as opium which changed peoples personalities. Most pre 1914 writers were on this drug which would explain why the narrator appears insane throughout the text.

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Poe uses the gothic elements such as death and darkness to add suspense and a scary feel to the piece. Also to add more suspense poe uses metaphors, similies, personification and symbolism.

Poe uses these techniques to describe certain things in more detail so you can see a picture in your mind, which draws you into the text. He symbolises the gothic genre with gothic elements to make the reader think about horror and suspense.

When poe uses personification in the text he uses it to draw the reader in, he wrote Death with a capital D to make you believe that death is actually a person and is there. It also makes it sound more powerful than any of the other words, because the story is mostly about death.

The reader is to believe that the narrator is insane when he asks ‘how, then am I mad? This automatically draws you in and makes you interact with the text, also Poe uses a lot of hyperbolic language to emphasise his insanity.

Other language features that Poe uses are repititon and verbs, he also uses repititon to build up suspense ‘cautiously, caustiuosly oh so cautiously is building up to when he opens the door to reveal the mans vulture like eye, he repeats the word to emphasise how cautiously he is actually opening the door. The verbs Poe uses in the text are to express what he is doing in the text in more detail.

Overall Poes piece is very complex as he uses very powerful language devises and he includes all the gothic elements. The reader is interacting in the text which is a powerful skill. so Poe has successfully written a piece of text which fits in with the gothic elements and gothic genre.


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