Point out details that Poe uses to build horror to an almost unbearable climax. Also, how does this serve as Gothic literature?

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This story is told from a first-person point of view (the narrator is a participant from the story and tells the story from his perspective) and this greatly adds to the tension and sense of terror and horror.  Details that continue to allow the tension to build include the narrator's description of how he carefully and methodically snuck into the boarding house owner's room and killed him and how before that, he sat outside of his room for hours upon end, staring at the eye of his boarding house owner as he slept.  As the story progresses, the narrator becomes more frantic and less wordy.  His sentences grow shorter and he is prone to outbursts (Enotes).  When the police visit, the narrator can barely contain himself and begins to hear the beating of (what he thinks is) the old man's heart that he has supposedly buried underneath boards in his floor.  Poe masterfully uses detail during this scene to put us into the psychotic mind of the narrator.  The reader feels what the narrator is feeling as his heart beats quicker and quicker from nervousness and tension.  Poe then ends the story by having his narrator shout that he cannot take it anymore and that the old man's heart is buried beneath the floor.

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The Tell-Tale Heart

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