telltale heart and black cat : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

compare and contrast the narrators of telltale heart and black cat??

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2003


I actually wrote a paper on those two stories but a slightly different topic. However, I can give a bit of help. Both stories, are obviously of a grotesque and horrific nature. Both involve a graphic death of someone close to the narrator. Both narrators are, of course, psychotic. Take notice that the two stories contain contrary opening and concluding paragraphs, but yet you can compare them to each other. "Tell Tale Heart" - the opening paragraph we have a feeling of a panicked, fearful narrator - his words feel rushed and also notice that Poe does not tell us (at all) if the narrator is a man or woman - many people, as well as myself, tend to assume he, but we can't be sure. First impression of the narrator - he/she appears insane, but is trying to convince the reader (and perhaps his/herself) that he/she is not. "How, then, am I mad?...observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell...." The narrator does not seem calm at all if you think about it and read those sentences.

Now contrast the "Black Cat" where the opening gives a calm narrator - one who is more relaxed. However, this story also seems to have a supernatural element so keep that in mind. Also note the claim that his narrative is of "an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects." Basically saying that the event was meant to happen. The opening feels like a confession which contrasts the other story of great panick.

I don't want to give you everything but keeps the above in mind. Go back over the stories and look at the wording, take notice of how it makes you feel when you're reading it, i.e. are you getting a rushed feeling, calm feeling, one of an insane/sane narrator, etc... Hope all this helps

-- Anonymous, January 26, 2003

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