The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart book cover
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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. The narrator insists from the very beginning of the story that he is not insane. What characteristics does he say prove his sanity? What characteristics suggest his madness instead?

2. Look carefully at the narrator's discussion of his motivation for the crime. Why does he assure the reader that he loves the old man and has no reasonable cause to kill him?

3. Notice how cautiously the narrator sets up the murder of the old man? How does he do this? Why does he take so long before killing him?

4. Notice all those places in the story when the narrator identifies with the old man. Discuss the nature of this identification.

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(The entire section is 215 words.)