28 March 2018
The Tell-Tale Sign of a Particular Criterion
Human beings have roamed this Earth insipidly for thousands of years, similar to that of a termite infestation in a home, or an unwelcomed, ill-favored cluster of cancer cells taking up quarters in a chassis of meat. During these insignificant years, however, there has existed a concept—a driving force—which gives us ho-hum humans a sense of purpose; the vociferous voice in our heads persistently begging for an explanation. This is, of course, the will—the need—for insight. We all strive for knowledge in one form or another, whether we’re aware of it or not. This force of nature leads to many of us to further break down the given structure of any idea or concept. Facets of our lives have been poked and prodded at by scholars for a perpetual amount of time. As a result, we form opinions, critiques, and preferences which, essentially, define who we are; opinions are what set humans apart from one another. Literature is no outlier to this; all pieces of literature are critiqued and evaluated by those who read it based on many different factors. Of these, I believe the most significant factors to be the exposition, narrator type, and climax of a story. I will be using short stories to convey this idea, as all short stories consist of a narrator, an exposition, and a climax. When it comes to short stories, these aspects are not presented in a cookie-cutter fashion. Some expositions, for instance, may be more descriptive than others. “The Tell-Tale Heart”, written by the remarkable Edgar Allan Poe, and “Safe”, written by Cherylene Lee are two short stories which contain opposing criteria. It is for this reason I will be evaluating the two short stories mentioned, as they are both remarkable stories which have stood through the tests of time.
The narrator of a short story can be used as a criterion. J.A. Cuddon brilliantly evaluates just what exactly a narrator is. In his book, A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Cuddon states, “‘The first voice is the voice of the poet talking to himself—or nobody […] The third is the voice of the poet when he attempts to create a dramatic character speaking in verse’” (Cuddon 572). For the sake of this paper, it can be seen there are two general types of narration: first person narration and third person narration. A first person narrator can either be objective or unreliable. An unreliable narrator, “…is one whose perception and interpretation of what he or she narrates does not correspond or coincide with the perceptions, interpretations and opinions of the author” (Cuddon 573). Respectively, third person narrators are either omniscient—all knowing—or limited omniscient. Of the different narration types given, I prefer an unreliable narrator. The reason behind this is quite simple, really: Unreliable narrators make a story much more interesting, as I am continuously questioning what the...