How Does Poe Build Suspense In The Tell Tale Heart

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“How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily-how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”(Poe 89) The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, is a story told by a madman seeking death upon an old man. The old man’s eye is so devastatingly horrid that the main character must rid his life forever. The madman succeeds with pride, but his confidence soon fades away as police officers stay for a visit. Poe builds an amazing sense of suspense throughout the story. Readers can feel electricity travel through their bones from characters fear. Vivid and repeating words make readers craving for more. These techniques for building suspense make readers want to read on. In the story, the author uses lots of repetition to build suspense. One example…show more content…
An example of this is,” -now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.”(Poe 92). The author’s description gives the reader the ability to create the sound in their mind. The author also uses a metaphor to make the description more detailed while also giving the reader another perspective of the man's beating heart. Readers gain chills imagining the sound, which makes them eager for it to stop.The only way it can be done, is to read on. Another example of description is,” The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs. I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cunningly, that no human eye- not even his- could detect anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out- no stain of any kind- no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all- ha! ha!”(Poe 93) Readers can clearly imagine the horror of the main character disposing the dead. The description also shows great detail in the pride of the main character which gives readers a mix

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