The Tell-Tale Heart Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is Edgar Allan Poe's writing style in "The Tell-Tale Heart?"

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Poe's writing style also contains elements of the Gothic, a sort of subgenre of Romanticism. Gothic fiction is often characterized by fear, horror, and death. It is often very suspenseful and both showcases and produces intense emotion. The Romantics felt that strong emotions were a truer expression of the human experience than intellect or reason because we are born with the ability to feel deeply—it isn't something we have to be taught. Therefore, they reasoned, intense emotion is more fundamental to our existence than anything we have to learn. Few, if any, emotions are more intense than horror and fear, and so Gothic fiction developed, in part, as a way to produce these emotions in the reader.

Poe's stories, including "The Tell-Tale Heart ," often showcase intense emotion in their characters and produce intense emotion in the reader. This story is particularly terror-inducing as a result of the narrator's lack of...

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Edgar Allan Poe uses many different literary devices in "The Tell-Tale Heart."  He begins the story with the use of irony.  In trying to prove to the reader that he is not mad, the narrator admits to having an acute sense of hearing.  He states that "I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell."  It is ironic that as a means to trying to prove his sanity, he reveals that he hears voices.  Irony is used at the end of the story when he and the officers sit in chairs on the floor where the old man's body is hidden. 

Poe also uses imagery when he describes the old man's eye.  The narrator says "One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture -- a pale blue eye with a film over it."

He uses more imagery the night of the murder.

" So I opened it -- you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily -- until at length a single dim ray like the thread of the spider shot out from the crevice and fell upon the vulture eye."

In the following passage, Poe uses a simile to compare the beating of the old man's heart to the beating of a drum before battle.

"It increased my fury as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage. "  The heart beat caused his fury to increase just as a drum beat increases a soldier's courage. 

Poe also uses ironyin this line because the narrator is comparing his furry to a soldier's courage.