Tuesday, September 24, 2013

heart and cat

“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe


Author Biography

Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Orphaned at

an early age, he was taken in by a wealthy family in Virginia. During his life, Poe

endured personal tragedies, including the death of his mother, a difficult stay in

his foster home, a college career shortened by debts and misconduct, the death

of his wife at a young age, and years of poverty. These tragedies influenced

Poe’s writing so that his short stories were filled with horror. He believed that a

short story should be written to produce a single emotional effect for the reader:

all events, characters, ideas, and words should be chosen and manipulated

solely for the purpose of achieving this effect. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of the

best examples of Poe’s tales of terror.

Literary Focus:

Atmosphere and MoodThe atmosphere or mood of a story is the overall emotional

feeling created by the details the author uses: Sometimes you may be able to

describe the atmosphere in a single word – sad, frightening, or mysterious, for

example. Authors create atmosphere by their descriptions of settings, characters,

and events. They choose words carefully so that you will be affected by their

writing in the way they want you to be.

Knowing the following words will help you as you read “The TellTale Heart.” Before reading, preview the words and what they mean. It may also


help if you scan through the story, find, and then underline the words in the text.



Acute sensitive over-acuteness

foresight thoughtful regard for the future concealment


the hiding of one’s feelings or purposes waned


troubled, distressed, caused agitation scantlings


seeing beyond what is obvious suavity

sagacity sound judgment bade


awe a mixed feeling of reverence, fear, and wonder reposed

crevice a narrow opening gesticulations

distinctness unmistakable, clearly defined derision


Verbal Irony-occurs when there is a difference between what a character says

and what another character understands

Ex. "The cake is as soft as concrete" - the person wants to tell that the cake is not so soft to eat.

 "Water is as clear as mud" - The person actually says that the water is not at all clear.

  "Isn't it as pleasant as a root canal?" - This implies that whatever occurred was not pleasant at


Example from Tell-Tale Heart:

(Hint: what does the narrator say about himself?)

1. the heart was beating in the floorboards.

Situational Irony when the opposite of what one would expect to happen

actually happens

Ex. My dog Lucky was hit by a car.

Example from Tell-Tale Heart:

2.He confesses.

Dramatic Irony : when the reader/audience knows something that a character



giving careful attention audacity

Example from Tell-Tale Heart:

3.The cops are standing in the floor boards and the man in under them.

4.   How does an author use sensory details to describe the atmosphere or mood

of a short story? The heart was hearing and the eye was sense of sight.

5.  In what ways do our choice of words create specific atmosphere and

characterization? details.

III. Literary Elements

6. Mood, or atmosphere, is the overall feeling in the story. How would you

describe the mood in this story? What details does Poe use to create the mood?The mood is dark and sad. The whole story in nervous and manic.

7. Symbolism: What does the heartbeat noise symbolize in the story? Provide

evidence from the story. guilt

8. How does first paragraph foreshadow, or hint at, the events of the story? Be

specific (use a quote)! He says in the beginning that he is not crazy.

9. The final paragraph in the story builds to a kind of mad climax. How does the

writer use words and punctuation to create? Dashes and exclamation points.

10.  What does the narrator repeatedly claim about himself? Why? He is not crazy

“The Black Cat”

11.  An allusion is a reference to a person, place, or thing.  What allusion exists

in the story?  thae cats name in pluto and the roman god of the underworld

12.  From what point of view is the story told?  What effect does this create? it is done as a confession and an unreliable narrator.

13.  What’s the significance of the title animal?  Explain. Black cat

14.  What foreshadowing could you find in the story? The narrator hangs cat from a noose ad later you see a noose and the narrator is hung from a noose.

15.  What similarities do you see in this story and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” First person narrator crazy.

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