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The Tell-Tale Heart
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Short Story/Novella Collection > The Tell Tale Heart -December 2015

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message 1: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4997 comments Mod
For December our Short Story Read is The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story of 31 pages, published is 1843.


Emily | 0 comments I will admit that I completed this story a few days ago - I listened to a great audio version n youtube, the link to the one I chose is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUFqB...

I personally really love this work, It's one of the few Poe works that I've read, and I have read it several times. To me it's a perfect example for both the subject of the horror genre and the short story format.


message 3: by Philina (new)

Philina | 1562 comments I've just finished reading the complete collection (Terrifying Tales) and this story was actually my favourite.


message 4: by Myst (new)

Myst | 173 comments I've got the free EAP vol 1-5 for kindle and there's no table of contents. Does anyone know which (if any) of the volumes have the story?

I finished vol. 1 this summer so I know it's not in that one.


Cameron | 10 comments Hi everyone, I just wanted to jump in here in case anyone else was confused for a second. I found this story in my EAP anthology I have and was surprised to see it (in my book 4 pages long (not 31 as mentioned above). Not wanting to miss something and read a 'shorter version' I double checked and the book linked to in this post is actually a collection of short stories. You are looking at a much shorter read! I'm looking forward to coming back and discussing once I'm finished it.

For those looking for a copy, you can get one at the virginia.edu website here: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/POE...


message 6: by Melanti (new) - added it

Melanti | 2384 comments Myst wrote: "I've got the free EAP vol 1-5 for kindle and there's no table of contents. Does anyone know which (if any) of the volumes have the story?

I finished vol. 1 this summer so I know it's not in that one."


Try Volume 2. Most of his famous short stories are in that one.

In fact, here's an index to the 5 volume set:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25525/...

According to this, "The Tell-Tale Heart" should be the third to the last.


message 7: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4997 comments Mod
Cameron wrote: "Hi everyone, I just wanted to jump in here in case anyone else was confused for a second. I found this story in my EAP anthology I have and was surprised to see it (in my book 4 pages long (not 31 ..."

Cameron I agree that this is not a 31 page book, that is the number pages listed by Goodreads for the book depicted at the top of the page. I read two different PDF versions form different web sites and read both versions in a very short time.


Cameron | 10 comments AnneGordon wrote: "Where do you imagine the narrator is and who do you imagine he is talking to? I imagined him in an old barracks or court trying to make his case and slipping into his madness and then I imagined hi..."

I guess I imagined him already from jail or somewhere else incarcerated, telling his story and explaining himself. From the beginning he tried to tell the readers that he wasn't crazy so I automatically assumed that he was trying to defend himself in a sense (I guess that does support the court-room thought). I never thought twice about my jail theory after the ending.


Sarah | 587 comments AnneGordon wrote: "Where do you imagine the narrator is and who do you imagine he is talking to? I imagined him in an old barracks or court trying to make his case and slipping into his madness and then I imagined hi..."

I always imagined him in an asylum, as I would think that is where he would have ended up. Though now that in court is mentioned, that would make sense too.

I really like this short story. I would have to say it is my second favorite Poe story, after The Fall of the House of Usher.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I just got a copy of this story today and after reading your comments I'm even more excited to get stuck in!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I really liked this! It's all dark and dastardly and everything I'd want from Poe! The book I have had two other short stories by Poe in it and I'm going to continue and read those too. Hopefully I like them as much


Margo Have to reread this on!!


message 13: by Bob, Short Story Classics (last edited Dec 04, 2015 12:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4997 comments Mod
AnneGordon wrote: "Where do you imagine the narrator is and who do you imagine he is talking to? I imagined him in an old barracks or court trying to make his case and slipping into his madness and then I imagined hi..."

I pictured him at the police station retelling his story in detail after his outburst confession.

"It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this,"

This one sentence speaks to his insanity, a whole hour just to ease his head into the room. How about this passage, Poe is excellent with words.

"If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs."

I haven't read much of Poe's work, but this is the best so far.


message 14: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (last edited Dec 04, 2015 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
AnneGordon wrote: "Where do you imagine the narrator is and who do you imagine he is talking to? I imagined him in an old barracks or court trying to make his case and slipping into his madness and then I imagined hi..."

I have always imagined him in an asylum, and it would not surprise me if he were the only person present.

I love Poe and this story is so essentially everything that makes Poe tick.

Do you think the narrator is only imagining the sound of the heart, that the heart is supernaturally beating for his benefit, or that he hears the sound of his own heart beating in fear and that it is an exact reflection of the sound of the old man's heart as he waits to be murdered?


Desertorum This was my first Poe! I was going to skip this but then I realised I have collection of his works on my Kindle and this was also in it.
I have hard time liking short stories in general but I must say that this was pretty good! It did grab me and it manage to give me creepy feeling ;) Have to try something else from the collection, when I have time.


message 16: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Desertorum wrote: "This was my first Poe! I was going to skip this but then I realised I have collection of his works on my Kindle and this was also in it.
I have hard time liking short stories in general but I must ..."


Do read The Cask of Amontillado my very favorite of his short stories!


Desertorum Sara wrote: "Desertorum wrote: "This was my first Poe! I was going to skip this but then I realised I have collection of his works on my Kindle and this was also in it.
I have hard time liking short stories in ..."


Thank for the suggestion, I have it in the collection so that might be my next one!

And I have to say that I did lie! I have read other Poe; Murder at Rue Morgue. And I think it was kind of different from this one.


message 18: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
AnneGordon wrote: "Bob wrote:.". How about this passage, Poe is excellent with words.


Yes, Bob. I like the paragraph beginning 'Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror' It's s..."


Yes, there is always the poetic behind his prose. I can imagine him carefully picking every single word he uses. I love the way his stories build toward the crescendo.


message 19: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Who titles better than Poe? Tell Tale Heart, Pit and the Pendulum, Mask of the Red Death. The names make you itch to read them.


Margo I agree with those of you who picture him in an asylum. I think he is desperately trying to prove his guilt so that they will hang him. Just so he will no longer hear the beating of that heart.

I also listered to The Cask of Amontillado as recommended by Sara. What a great story! I'm definitely going to have to read it as well as I don't know what to think. Possibly even better than The Telltale Heart


Cameron | 10 comments I think that the actual auditory aspect of the beating heart isn't there in reality, but rather it is an internalized metaphor for the guilt of what he's done. on reading it I immediately thought of Dostoevsky's Crime and punishment and how the guilt off murder itself is enough to eventually drive one mad.


Cameron | 10 comments That's true... although, perhaps one doesn't need to already have committed the crime to feel guilt. We also know that he fully intended on murdering from the beginning of the story.


Margo Cameron wrote: "That's true... although, perhaps one doesn't need to already have committed the crime to feel guilt. We also know that he fully intended on murdering from the beginning of the story."

Surely the fact very fact that he feels that level of guilt is an indication of sanity. If he were caught up in some mad delusion he would believe his act to be justified.


Cameron | 10 comments That sounds like a catch-22nd argument to me... you need to be insane to murder someone like this, but you need to murder someone like this to feel guilty, but if you feel guilty, you must be sane, therefore you couldn't have murdered someone like this...


Margo LOL very catch 22 when you put it like that! But no, we don't know why the murder was comited. We do know that the narrator was particularly nice to his victim prior to the act to assuage his fears. It was only when he started to hear the beating heart i.e.when his conscious kicked in, that he started to sound craved. A sane man who murdered would be crazed with guilt. But now we're back to catch 22 no matter how i try to argue it


message 26: by Graham (new)

Graham Wilhauk (megamanchieffan) | 167 comments Ok, let me get this straight. I love Poe's poetry and consider it some of the best poetry ever made. But in my honest opinion, and don't kill me, his short stories are not that good. In fact, most of them are kind of bad. They lear you in with an interesting concept with gothic motives, but they just don't work as stories. The characters are forgettable and the atmosphere, while it can be great, isn't explored enough in the length these stories have. In my honest opinion, Poe should have just stuck to poetry.


message 27: by Annie (new)

Annie The Tell Tale Heart is probably my favorite short story. I remember reading it in 5th grade and realizing how visceral a story could be. I think before then I'd read stories for the plot and an understanding of different people but after Poe I realized reading could be an experience. I went on to read everything if his I could get my hands on but Tell-Tale Heart is by far my favorite.

I've never thought about from where the narrator is telling his story. I guess it never seemed important to me but thinking about it now I feel like he's just explaining what he did to a friend or acquaintance in his prison. He doesn't have an agenda to his description which would be seen in a court room setting and I don't think he would end up in an asylum.


message 28: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Annie wrote: "The Tell Tale Heart is probably my favorite short story. I remember reading it in 5th grade and realizing how visceral a story could be. I think before then I'd read stories for the plot and an und..."

I suppose the suggestion of an asylum comes to me because he starts out by trying to prove he is NOT insane and mentions that they all say he is. It feels much more like he is trying to establish his sanity than justify his crime.


message 29: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Graham wrote: "Ok, let me get this straight. I love Poe's poetry and consider it some of the best poetry ever made. But in my honest opinion, and don't kill me, his short stories are not that good. In fact, most ..."

I'm pleased he did not take your advice. When reading short stories, I often feel as if the story is not enough, as if there was more to tell or not enough to justify the telling. I never feel that with Poe. He had the rare ability to see the tale completely and tell it in the least space possible without any sense of cheating the audience. I think his stories have so much appeal for me because they are almost as lyrical as his poetry.


Margo Sara wrote: "Graham wrote: "Ok, let me get this straight. I love Poe's poetry and consider it some of the best poetry ever made. But in my honest opinion, and don't kill me, his short stories are not that good...."

I've never read his poetry. Will definitely have to try it. I have to agree with you in general that short stoories can just leave the reader wanting more insight, but sometimes this can be a good thing. A story that leaves no questions, no blanks to be filled by the readers imagination, can quickly fade from the mind.


message 31: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth | 67 comments This is my favorite of Poe's stories. I read this when I was a teenager and then went on to read all his works. I am looking forward to re-reading this.


Kathleen | 4056 comments This was a great story. I loved the details, and the tension, how he goes on and on about the lantern and putting his head in the door: "I moved it slowly--very, very slowly...It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening..."

I've only read a few Poe stories, but I also love The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Like Cameron above, it made me think of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and I pictured him in a similar police station setting.

What did you all think of the statement "What you mistake for madness is over-acuteness of the senses?"


message 33: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Kathleen wrote: "What did you all think of the statement "What you mistake for madness is over-acuteness of the senses?"

I think he is trying to convince himself that it was not madness but some acuity in himself. It would take a madman to kill a person he liked perfectly well, only because of a physical defect. Of course, killing without reason was probably less common in those days then it is in these.


Cameron | 10 comments What did you all think of the statement "What you mistake for madness is over-acuteness of the senses?"

I remember reading this sentence but not thinking very much of it. Thank you for bringing it to our attention here. I think there are some clues / important points for any of our 'arguments' in this sentence itself.

It is only after this sentence that we hear for the first time the beating of the victims heart. This therefore introduces the reader (listener?) to the topic of the narrators (proclaimed) madness (we are assuming that he is defending his madness of hearing the heart ... not the madness of killing someone for no good reason but an evil eye).

I think there are two opposite ways to look at the sentence.

First, literally, in that he is stating that he isn't mad and rather his heightened senses actually allowed him to hear the beating of the victim's heart. This is what he is trying to argue in the opening statement "Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?"

Second, we can take it as nonsense since he is mad anyways. Someone who is crazy will obviously swear to the legitimacy of his claims and therefore the "acuteness of the senses" are as nonsensical as anything else he says due to the madness.


Sarah | 587 comments AnneGordon wrote: "Annie wrote: "The Tell Tale Heart is probably my favorite short story. I remember reading it in 5th grade and realizing how visceral a story could be. I think before then I'd read stories for the p..."

I think he genuinely feels he is sane and wants to make sure everyone else sees it too, and understands why his actions were totally justified.


Kathleen | 4056 comments Sara wrote: "Who titles better than Poe? Tell Tale Heart, Pit and the Pendulum, Mask of the Red Death. The names make you itch to read them."

You are so right Sara! Also, The Purloined Letter, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar ...


message 37: by Kathleen (last edited Dec 08, 2015 05:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathleen | 4056 comments Cameron wrote: It is only after this sentence that we hear for the first time the beating of the victims heart. This therefore introduces the reader (listener?) to the topic of the narrators (proclaimed) madness (we are assuming that he is defending his madness of hearing the heart ... not the madness of killing someone for no good reason but an evil eye).

That is so interesting Cameron. I think you're right, that in his mind, it's his hearing the beating heart that is the whole problem. (Which seems typical for a mad person!)

And since you mentioned the beginning, I went back and looked. I'd forgotten that he starts by saying he's had a disease. Interesting.

I think Poe is very meticulous and every detail has meaning.


message 38: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Kathleen wrote: "Cameron wrote: It is only after this sentence that we hear for the first time the beating of the victims heart. This therefore introduces the reader (listener?) to the topic of the narrators (procl..."

I agree that nothing is meaningless in Poe. Why is it the eye that bothers him? Is he afraid of being seen into? Does he fear that the Old Man's eye can see the things he is hiding inside, his madness, his lack of control?


message 39: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4997 comments Mod
I just reread this for the third time this month. It still amazes me, simply terrific.


message 40: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Bob wrote: "I just reread this for the third time this month. It still amazes me, simply terrific."

I had also read it several times before and think it is a hallmark of good literature that a re-read is never wasted. Poe wears well. I got this in a collection, so I am going to read the rest of the book, even though I have read most of the stories before.


message 41: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 145 comments This has always been one of my favorite Poe stories. I lived in Richmond, VA for years a short walk from his Richmond home and thought of this story so many times walking home along the cobblestone streets. Richmond had a pretty high murder rate when I was there and it has lots of dark alleys. Plenty of inspiration for a story like this. I've never made it to his Baltimore neighborhood. :-)


message 42: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "This has always been one of my favorite Poe stories. I lived in Richmond, VA for years a short walk from his Richmond home and thought of this story so many times walking home along the cobblestone..."

Have been to both Richmond and Baltimore sites and think either one would stir the right emotions.


message 43: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4997 comments Mod
This could be a stretch, but I was thinking about The Yellow Wall-Paper its another story told to us by the insane. Wall-Paper is not nearly as creepy, but it is another interesting insight into a mind that's a little off plumb. Just a thought.


message 44: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Bob wrote: "This could be a stretch, but I was thinking about The Yellow Wall-Paper its another story told to us by the insane. Wall-Paper is not nearly as creepy, but it is another interesting i..."

On my TBR list. I didn't know it was told from an insanity pov. I'm even more anxious to read it now.


message 45: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 145 comments It's been on my To Read List as well.


message 46: by Powder River Rose (last edited Dec 17, 2015 09:25PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Powder River Rose (powderriverrose) | 152 comments This was my first Poe and I watched the YouTube video that Emily provided. It was very good and frightening. But....did you see the animated video next in line? Entitled "The Tell-Tale Heart by Annette Jung"

http://youtu.be/wDLLHTdVSgU

Creepy......


message 47: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) | 829 comments I am actually reading a collection of Edgar Allan Poe right now so am joining this late. I'll comment once I finish it.


message 48: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) | 829 comments I just finished The Tell Tale Heart and I enjoyed it immensely. While this was only 6 pages long, Poe created an intense, psychological thriller.

I found myself reviewing my own morals when I finished this story. It made me look internally and ask myself why I wanted the protagonist to succeed at his morbid deed. What had the old man antagonist done to deserve what came to him? Why was I holding my breath, and willing on the protagonist to quash the evil he alone sees in his mind's eye? No doubt, I wanted the narrator/protagonist to succeed, but was he at all virtuous or warranted in his endeavor? I don't know the answer to this.

While I am not a huge fan of short stories, Poe is the master of this form of writing style in my opinion. The images and emotions he created, like those in The Tell Tale Heart, are some of the best I've ever read. I'm thankful I gave this story and this B&N classics collection a try, because it has allowed me to experience this writing style, which I otherwise probably wouldn't have tried.

This was a good choice for the monthly short, and I look forward to participating in others in the future!


message 49: by Sara (taking a break), Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 5797 comments Mod
Matt wrote: "I just finished The Tell Tale Heart and I enjoyed it immensely. While this was only 6 pages long, Poe created an intense, psychological thriller.

I found myself reviewing my own morals when I fin..."


Like Anne, I never felt any desire for him to succeed. I really felt on the outside looking in rather than involved with this character.


Kathleen | 4056 comments These different impressions are so interesting. I felt like Sara--on the outside looking in. A fascinating look, but I didn't necessarily feel personally vested in the character.

As a contrast, The Yellow Wallpaper that Bob mentioned above really drew me in, got under my skin, and freaked me out a bit!


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