An Analysis of Writing Styles of Edgar Allan Poe in the Tell-Tale Heart

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An Analysis of Writing Styles of Edgar Allan Poe in the Tell-Tale Heart

This essay will provide an analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing style in “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It will discuss Poe’s use of suspense, gothic elements, and first-person narrative. The piece will explore how these stylistic choices enhance the story’s impact and contribute to its enduring popularity. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Edgar Allan Poe.

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In the short story, “Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the author uses many writing styles to put the reader in shock and horror. The story begins with an obvious madman telling his story of an old man whose eyes resembled those of a vulture. Because of this, the madman would be troubled whenever those eyes laid upon him, motivating him to kill the old man. This would turn into him watching the old man sleep every night around midnight. Until one night, the madman comes and kills the old man, dismembering his body and hiding him under the floor.

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However, when the police search him, the madman hears an unusual beating steadily growing louder and louder to the point where the madman goes insane and confesses. This story features horrifying visualizations and leaves the reader shocked with Poe’s use of figurative language, irony, and his sentence structure.

First, Poe’s sentence structure brings horror with many exclamation marks and unique sentence structures. In the first paragraph, the reader meets a nervous narrator using unusual grammar and punctuation, creating suspense on what is going to happen next. In the story, it says, “True!-nervous-very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (354). Not only does this sentence give suspense to the reader, but the emphasis on the word “will” creates horror by convincing the reader that this man is mad.

Next, he uses italics to express the nervousness of the narrator and his fear. We see in the story the narrator says, “It was a low, dull, quick sound-much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton.” (358). At this point, the horrifying climax starts to form, Poe uses italics to start the most suspenseful part of the story, creating horror.

The last use of sentence structure that Poe uses is alliteration. During the story, Poe uses this to make the important events stand out with alliteration, it says, “It grew louder-louder-louder! Almighty God!-no- no!” (359). This alliteration creates horror because the reader realizes how important this part is, and helps to realize the situation the madman is in.

All in all, Poe’s use of sentence structure helps the reader suspect the horrifying gore of this story, but more importantly, his figurative language puts the reader in even more shock.

In the story, we see Poe’s use of figurative language clearly expressing the gore and horror between the old man and the madmen. The first way Poe creates horror with his figurative language is his use of similes, creating horror out of little. It says, “One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold” (354-355). This evidence creates horror because it relates an eye to the horrifying vulture. Not only that, Poe describes emotions whenever the eye fell upon the madman. Next, Poe uses metaphors to make horrifying death scarier. It says, “He was stone dead” (357). This creates horror because it helps the reader visualize the cold, horrifying and gory death of the old man. Lastly, the goriest part of the story is when the madman does something only Poe would do. It says, “First of all, I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head, the arms, and the legs” (358). This part makes the reader visualize a slow and gory process in which limbs are severed, bringing the reader to a shocked state. Because of this, readers gain many horrifying visualizations due to Poe’s style. However, his use of irony also leaves the reader in shock.

In the short story, Poe uses his style of irony to make the reader expect something but something opposite happens. Firstly, situational irony occurs when the madman confesses to his crime when we thought he was going to get away with it. It says, “Villains! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed.” This leaves us in shock because we expected him to get away with a gory murder but instead confesses it at the last second. Next, Poe uses dramatic irony to create suspense. In the story, it says, “They heard! They suspected! They knew! They were making a mockery of my horror!” (359). This shows how the madman thinks that the police know he did the crime, but in reality, they do not. The last use of irony is verbal. It says, “I pity the old man.” This evidence suggests horror because even though the madman pities the old man, he still murders him.

All in all, Poe’s use of figurative language, irony, and sentence structure created horror throughout the entire story, leaving the readers in shock. Poe uses figurative language, irony, and his excellent use of sentence styles to create the terror in this story. His sentence style is creative and horrifying because it creates suspense throughout the whole story. Also, Poe uses irony not only to make us surprised by many things, but it also makes us hear unexpected things. Lastly, his use of figurative language helps visualize horrifying imagery.

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An Analysis of Writing Styles of Edgar Allan Poe in the Tell-Tale Heart. (2022, Nov 19). Retrieved from