“The Tell-Tale Heart”
As you read “The Tell-Tale Heart,” consider the ways in which the author, Edgar Allan Poe, creates suspense. Use this chart to keep track of just how Poe unsettles and unnerves his readers! At each of the stopping points below, record why this passage is suspenseful/identify the technique(s) Poe uses. Then rewrite the passage in a non-suspenseful way. Some techniques authors use to create suspense:
· Descriptive words/vocabulary choices
· Relating vivid descriptions of a character’s thoughts and fears
· Repeating words, phrases, or characters’ actions (often using parallel structure)
· Figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification)
· Expressive punctuation (dashes, exclamation points, italics)
Technique(s)/Why is this Passage Suspenseful?
“True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am! But why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them” (1-3).
Punctuation – dashes, exclamation points, italics
Questioning the reader
Yes, I was nervous and I still am, but I am not insane.
My disease made my senses sharper; it did not dull them.
“…I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head…I moved it slowly—very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep…And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously—oh, so cautiously—cautiously (for the hinges creaked)—I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye” (20-27).
“…Death, in approaching him, had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim”...