the use of the first person narration in poe's stories leads us to sympathise with the characters. discuss.  the short stories i'm doing is 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'The Cask of the Amontellado'

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lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A reader sympathizes with the narrator because of the first-person narration, a technique commonly used by writers to help the reader not only get into the head of the main character, but also to make the reader feel that character's emotions. Once we feel a connection with that character, we are automatically, psychologically made to sympathize with that character.  From a psychological standpoint, the repetitive reading of the word "I" in first-person narration makes the reader feel as though s/he is the one experiencing the events, thus deepening the connection to the narrator.  Furthermore, it is that narrator's perspective and "version" of the story which the reader is given, therefore limiting the chance of the reader sympathizing with any other character whose thoughts and emotions the reader is not privy to.  In the specific case of "The Tell-Tale Heart", we have only the servant's first-person narration explaining the horror and mental torture of looking into that eye, thus frightening us and almost forcing us into understanding his actions.  We may not, however, really know the entire situation. If we were perhaps to find out from the old man that he loved the servant, or depended  and trusted the servant, our view of both characters could very well change and lessen our sympathy for the servant's criminal actions.  The perspective the reader is given is one the reader tends to trust and adhere to.

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