Explain how Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" and Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho use techniques to create suspense e. g. language and film techniques?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In both Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" and Hitchcock's Psycho there is mounting suspense and a terrible sense of foreboding.  Suspense in Poe's story is generated as the narrator of Poe's story "cautiously--oh, so cautiously...." opens the door to the room and shines the lantern upon the sinister vulture eye of the old man for seven days.  In Psycho, the strange man in the uninhabited motel is accomodating to the customer, an attractive woman; however, later, he peers through a peep hole into the motel room where the woman who has stolen from her bank resides.  Later, he is seen by her in the upstairs of a dark, gothic house above the motel. There are shadows that pass before the window and even an argument between the man and what appears to be an old woman.  Fears grow upon the woman and upon the narrator's victim in "The Tell-Tale Heart" who springs up in bed, shouting "Who's there?"

On the eighth day, Poe's narrator feels his powers.  He enters the room stealthily just as the "old mother" enters the woman's motel room.  Soon both the old man and the female victim utter groans of terror.  The beating of the heart is heard by the narrator:  "But the beating grew louder and louder."  This beating of the woman's heart is suggested by the sharp, staccato of the music of the movie as Norman Bates enters dressed as his mother and stabs the woman in the shower.  In the end, both Poe's narrator and Norman Bates completely lose their minds.

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The Tell-Tale Heart

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