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Comparison of Two Short Stories -"A Confession Found In A Prison" and "The Tell-Tale Heart".

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Introduction

Tom Chaloner 11P Comparison of Two Short Stories-"A Confession Found In A Prison" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" I am looking at two short stories called 'A Confession Found in a Prison' and 'The Tell-Tale Heart'. Both are murder stories and there are similarities as well as differences in the plot, characters and style of writing. Both stories are told in first person, from the point of view of the murderer but their behaviour and attitude to their bad deeds is very different. In 'A Confession' he says, "Starting, like the guilty wretch I was" which shows that the murderer feels guilt for what he has done. Whereas the murderer in 'The Tell-Tale Heart' is proud of what he has done, there is no evidence of guilt, "I could hardly contain my feelings of triumph", and, "I then smiled gaily". This is evidence of the different feelings towards the murder from each culprit. The Tell-Tale Heart's murderer is triumphant and pleased with the way that he carried out the deed, he boasts of the murder very proudly. The murderer in A Confession is riddled with self-hatred and shame; he is full of guilt and doesn't protest against his sentencing in any way. 'The Tell-Tale Heart' is written as if the murderer is having a conversation and he wants to convince himself he is not mad, yet many signs of madness are displayed throughout the story. ...read more.

Middle

Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold". In each short story the motive has a link to eyes. Both the killers have a fear and yet an attraction to the eyes of the victim. The eyes became a burden to the men and "by degrees" to get rid of the eyes the victim must be killed. In the Tell-Tale Heart the murderer mentions it is not the old man he hates, it's his eyes. Also another link is that both murders are planned or premeditated. The killers both knew when the murders were going to take place. "I felt no weariness or fatigue, but waited patiently" and "I had waited a long time, very patiently". These quotes are evidence of the knowledge of the murders they were going to commit. When the victims in the stories have been killed both killers decide to bury the bodies. The man from The Tell-Tale Heart dismembers the body and hides it under the floorboards whereas the man from A Confession buries the child's body in some newly laid turf in the grounds of his house. In the Tell-Tale Heart the killer is questioned very quickly as there is a cry heard from the old man. This could create panic to the killer but with confidence of his murder and job of hiding the body, he lets police men into his house. ...read more.

Conclusion

In The Tell-Tale Heart the murderer at the beginning feels no guilt or regret for what he has done, yet when the situation is going so well his conscience gets the better of him. He hears a ringing in his ears, which builds up to a loud heartbeat. He thinks that it's the old man's heartbeat which he thinks the police officers can hear (it is probably actually his own heartbeat, a sign of his guilty conscience). The tension builds up and eventually the man confesses to the murder as he thinks that the police can hear the man's heartbeat and know he did it. In both stories there is an interesting contrast between the thought of the killer at the start of the story and the reason they got caught. It is opposite reasons in each story. In A Confession the punctuation such as exclamation marks are not that common as it is more of an account that a descriptive story. However in The Tell-Tale Heart there are 25 exclamation marks in the last 12 lines, which give it a mad and frantic feel to the end of the story, which in turn corresponds to the insanity and irregular behaviour of the killer and his plot. The reason for the killer to write the story was to prove he wasn't mad, but this is ironic because he obviously is mad. In A Confession his reason or motive for writing his confession is so he can die with not sins or without guilt. ...read more.

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