Tonight is Halloween and it’s time for a scary story from the master

I taught American literature and I loved having fun with my students on Halloween. What a wonderful time to frighten them with a story from the master of fear, Edgar A. Poe! America’s greatest short story author of all times.

Do you remember his “Tell-Tale Heart?” The story’s title says that the heart is a “tell-tale” sign. It refers to the beating heart that eventually drives the narrator to confess his crime. The reader is led to believe it is the beating of the old man’s heart he hears, which is impossible, since he is dead and his body in pieces. What a magnificent story about paranoia eating away the soul.

An unnamed narrator opens the story by addressing the reader and claiming that he is nervous but not mad. He says that he is going to tell a story in which he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man.



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