In Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart', the opening sentence is a very strange one. What is its purpose and how has it been constructed? "True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?" (Sentence 1, Paragraph 1)

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The opening line of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is one that immediately hooks the reader. By opening with dialogue, the reader is given the impression that they have walked into the middle of a conversation, though it is unclear who the narrator is speaking to at this point in the story.

The sentence seems strange because it is not spoken in a way that is typical of our speech pattern. The narrator speaks in an odd way when he states "I had been and am," and the repetition of the word "very" and "nervous" gives the reader the image of a speaker who is quite jumpy, which may create some feelings of discomfort for the reader.

Perhaps the strangest part of this opening line is the impression that it leaves with the reader. The statement demonstrates that the narrator feels as though his sanity is being called into question, and there is a need to defend whatever actions caused this judgement. This leads the reader to question the narrator's sanity as well. Armed with the knowledge that, as a...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 655 words.)

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