The Tell-Tale Heart

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The Tell-Tale Heart

The Lottery

The Tell Tale Heart is about a man who’s gone mad from his enemy, the old man’s eye. The main conflict makes the story interesting and unusual since it is between the narrator and his conscious. His conscious is so strong throughout the story that it causes him to question his own insanity. It all begins when the man is supposedly tortured by his roommates “evil eye” which is the source of his madness. Every night with that eye was another reason to kill the innocent old man. However, one night his eye opened to the sound of the man’s footsteps. One shriek later and the old man is inside the floorboard. The madman was satisfied that his enemy was gone forever but the police come to rain on his parade. They asked questions and the man answered skillfully until he heard the old man’s heart thumping in the floorboard in his head and he said, “It grew louder - louder - louder!” The sound become so loud that he couldn't stand it and tore up the floorboards to reveal an old man with an evil eye and a thumping heart.

There are 2 main characters in the Tell Tale Heart. One is the old man and the other is the man who murdered the old man. The author doesn't mention either of their names making the story more mysterious. The madman is supposedly insane because he says so and keeps arguing or asking himself if he is. So since the beginning we know what his personality and his thoughts are like. However an insane person wouldn't know they're insane. Therefore, I believe he is sane enough to determine his own sanity. Although, killing a man because of the look of his eye isn’t normal, but at least his conscious is clean. The old man is an innocent roommate of the mad man that shares the house. He posses an eye that is “evil” because the narrator said, “ He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it.” The old man was rich, and nice but the cause of his death was the eye. There is no story behind it either since the story is wrapped mostly around the madman and the eye is the reason he becomes mad.

Main characters

The Tell Tale Heart


The theme of this story is strongly guilt. His conscious is a loud voice in his head and makes every move instead of advising him what to do. Every move it told by the conscious and whenever the narrator is talking about if he has gone mad or not it's a fight between the narrator and his conscious. He asks himself is he's mad or not when the narrator says, “TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” If it wasn't for his conscious he wouldn't feel guilty about killing the man and ripping the floor boards apart. At first however, he doesn't have second thoughts about killing the man, as if it was an instinct.


The story is written is first person point of view. The reason the author wanted to do it this way so it can make you feel what his thoughts, actions and feelings were each second. It was like the mad man's diary but more detailed since his every move was written. When an author adds more detail you can see the image he/she is trying to portray in words and in this story it was told in that way. When the narrator says, “For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down” it is giving so much detail that he went down to muscle and the things he hears.

The Tell Tale Heart and The Lottery are more similar than different because they both have that feeling that gives you the chills. In both stories at least one person is murdered and in the cruelest ways. In the Tell Tale Heart the narrator was happy to kill him and not worried one bit when he said “I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound”. In the Lottery they were also engaged in this family event and her brothers even joined to kill her when the narrator said, “The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.” It was a tradition to stone a person to death, equally cruel to stuffing someone in the floor boards. The difference is that the Tell tale Heart the conflict was between person vs person since he was fighting with his conscious; and the lottery was person vs society since she has to sacrifice herself to the community for the tradition. Throughout the story the conflict is the mad man fighting his conscious whether or not to kill the old man and then revealing him or not. In the lottery Tessie had no choice because it was a custom and sacrifices were made.


Compare & Contrast


The main mood of the story is suspense. The suspense is in every sentence because we want to know his next move when and how he is going to make it. How the author wrote is too leaves you off the edge in every sentance. For example, the narrator said “So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.” Which makes the reader want to know what's next and keeps moving on. Plus every move he makes leads to another like a chain. From his plans, to the murder, the police and to the point where he can't take it anymore and reveals the old man stuffed in the floor boards.

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