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What are some examples of psychoanalytical perspective in "The Tell-Tale...

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loveslit | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 6, 2008 at 6:15 AM via web

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What are some examples of psychoanalytical perspective in "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 6, 2008 at 8:22 AM (Answer #1)

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First, let's define what psychoanalysis is.  According to www.dictionary.com, it is:

The method of psychological therapy originated by Sigmund Freud in which free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance and transference are used to explore repressed or unconscious impulses, anxieties, and internal conflicts, in order to free psychic energy for mature love and work.

The narrator of this story is the murderer, so we get a very personal look inside the mind of a crazed killer.  The narrator relates much of the story in a stream of consciousness style, meaning it is written as the thoughts might go through the narrator's head at the time.  The story is sometimes fragmented and it changes focus, just as the narrator's mind is fragmented and chaotic.  An example of this is when the narrator is telling the story and relaying the plan he made to sneak into the boarding house owner's bedroom and kill him...then, suddenly, the narrator points out how clever he is for thinking of how to do this.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 6, 2008 at 10:45 AM (Answer #2)

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I would say another example is when the narrator is entertaining the police officers in the very room over the very spot where he has disposed of the body.  Eventually, his crazed side or his guilt, or a combination of the two get the better of him and screeches a confession due to the "beat of his hideous heart!"  The heart beat is heard only in the mind of the murderer, but he is unable to quell is fear and angst until after the officers have left.  It grows so loud that he knows they must also hear it, so a confession is the next "logical" step for him.

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