Thomas Wheeler 11A1/11AR
compares himself to a watch, suggesting it is he himself who is counting down untilthe old man’s death, as he is the one in control.The reason time is used so frequently in the story is mostly due to the need of showing just how precise, obsessed and calculated the narrator is, as it shows usthat, at the same time each night, for eight days, the narrator would very slowly movehis head into the old man’s bedroom, then slowly direct a tiny ray of light from thelantern into the old man’s eye. Then, the pace of the story changes as the narrator murders the old man, but slows down as the old man’s heart stops beating,continuing throughout the policemen’s search of the house. However, the pacequickens once again when the policemen start relaxing in the home and they and thenarrator are sitting and talking in the old man’s bedroom, as the narrator startshearing the old man’s beating heart once more, this time steadily rising, growingstronger, louder and faster.Time is shown moving slowly when the sentences are longer and they include morecommas, however, when the pace of the story increases and time appears to movefaster, the sentences are much shorter, normally including two or three words.Here are some examples of time moving slowly, “It took me an hour to place mywhole head within the opening”, “A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly thandid mine”, and, “For a whole hour, I did not move a muscle”. On the other hand, hereare two quotations about time picking up speed, “I threw open the lantern and leapedinto the room”, and, “They heard. They suspected. They knew”.Edgar Allan Poe uses repetition many times in the story, and the technique is usedas each use of repetition helps contribute to adding more atmosphere to the story,adding to the suspense and fear that we already feel. When they are used, the storyslows down slightly, which makes our anticipation for finding out what happens nextgrow, and this pulls us further into the story, making us read on. As the story is a 1
person account of the event, thinking solely about its use in the plot, it helpsunderline how detailed the narrator is in his details and how much he obsessed over the murder.Three examples of repetition in the story are “With what caution -- With whatforesight -- With what dissimulation”, “How stealthily, stealthily”, and, “Louder!Louder! Louder! Louder!”, although there are many more that can be easily spotted.The language used in “The Tell-Tale Heart” is very important in keeping theatmosphere alive while also making sure the reader stays interested in the story. Asa horror story, that focuses on the subject on insanity, murder, and obsession, it onlymakes sense for Poe to use certain words and phrases that give off the sense of being evil, dark, or even just full-on horrific.