From what point of view is "The Tell-Tale Heart" told?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" was written in first person.

A first person point of view (or narration) is told from the speaker's point of view, is about the life of the speaker, and uses the pronouns "I", "my", and "me."

On a side note, second person point of views are relatively difficult to master given they tell the reader's story (using the pronouns "you" and "yours" and can alienate the reader if the story does not or could not apply to him or her). Third person point of views are where the narrator is telling the story of another character/s (using the pronouns he/she, his/ her, they/them).

That said, the opening lines of the story denote it as being from a first person point of view.

TRUE!—NERVOUS—VERY, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them.

Here, the speaker uses the pronouns "I" and "my." Through this use of pronouns, the point of view is defined as first person. Curiously enough, the speaker is telling "you" the reader about the circumstances regarding him, the old man, and the old man's eye. This defines the first person point of view even more (one can almost picture the speaker sitting in front of them telling of the horrific tale).


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