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How does Edgar Allen Poe create an atmosphere of suspense and tension in The Black Cat and The Tell-Tale Heart?

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Pre- 1914 Literature coursework Edgar Allen Poe Name: Jasper K�nig Date: How does Edgar Allen Poe create an atmosphere of suspense and tension in "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart"? Edgar Allen Poe was born on January the 19th, 1809 in Boston, USA. Apart from short stories he was also famous for poems, like "The Raven". He was one of the first detective and horror storywriters. Two of his stories are "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat". Both are psychotic murder stories with similar aspects. They are both written in slice of life and first person so we do not know much about the narrator or setting and other characters. All effects come together to create suspense. The reader cannot escape the mystery horror. The reader is involved until the very last word. Poe's uses of plot, setting, style, and characterisation and structure all help to keep suspense in both stories. The plots of "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" are fairly similar. In both stories the narrator kills someone close to themselves. Also in both stories they then hide the body in fairly similar places and both of the murderers get found out by being over confidant and giving themselves away. ...read more.


Other characters like the policemen are not given any individual identities and seem almost incompetent. Both "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" are written in the slice of life form. One reason this is done is because they are short stories and if there was a lot of information they would get too long, the story would get off the point and the reader might get bored. In a short story like these it goes strait into the action, which gets the reader more engaged into the action. In both stories the title is very relative to the stories and gives the reader a clue what the story might be about. The title of "The Black Cat" is simple but explanatory. The reader straight away knows it will probably be a scary story because black cats are often referred to as bad luck and evil. Also in the story the cat is called 'Pluto' which is the Greek god of the underworld. The title of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is also relevant because it implies that the heart kept beating after death and exposed the murder. ...read more.


This makes us think why he is saying this and what he has done. In "The Black Cat" the narrator chooses words to describe himself. "Docility and humanity of my disposition". The idea of the black cat being evil creates superstition because of the idea of witchcraft. In "The Tell-Tale Heart" words like "cautiously", "stealthily" and "steadily" slow things down, and then things like "quicker and quicker" speed things up. This adds to the quickening in repetition and pace. There are many similarities between the stories "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart". Things like the plot and the setting not being described in great detail. This is partly because the same person writes them but also because they are the same kind of short story. There are a few differences between the two poems like the fact that there are a lot more details given about the narrator in "The Black Cat" and also the murder is quite different in the two stories. But apart from that the structure is pretty much the same. Personally I think that the narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart" was more insane partly because of the way he murdered the old man and the reason but also generally the way he acts he really strange. But I thought that both stories were as good as each other ...read more.

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