What two literary elements would be easiest to compare in "A Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "A Ghost Story" by Mark Twain?

Expert Answers
vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Twain's story seems the more obviously funny of the two. Most people tend to read "The Tell-Tale Heart" as a scary piece of short fiction in which an innocent man is actually killed by a maniac.  (For more on this view, follow this link: http://www.enotes.com/tell-tale-heart/critical-overview)

Twain's tale starts off seeming a bit scary, but it quickly devolves into farce, as when the narrator says to the giant,

"Now what sort of a way is that to do? First you come lumbering about the place bringing a legion of vagabond goblins along with you to worry me to death, and then when I overlook an indelicacy of costume which would not be tolerated anywhere by cultivated people except in a respectable theater, and not even there if the nudity were of YOUR sex, you repay me by wrecking all the furniture you can find to sit down on. And why will you? You damage yourself as much as you do me. You have broken off the end of your spinal column, and littered up the floor with chips of your hams till the place looks like a marble yard. You ought to be ashamed of yourself -- you are big enough to know better."



literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would tend to agree with the position that littleteacher takes on this subject. The believability of the narrator in both stories forces a reader to question their reliability. Even with the question of reliability, one cannot get away from the movement of the story and the curious tale being told.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
There are a few of comparisons I can think of. The narrators are similar, in terms of telling a story that people are not likely to believe but feeling confident in themselves. Both are absurd stories of a gothic nature, and each can be seen as a satire or serious.
mariposa111 | Student

Thank you! Your ideas are very helpful.