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Tell-Tale Heart

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (September 1, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0553900722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553900729
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story to be read by all in a lifetime. This horror classic starts off in the first person narrative of a crazed psycho who assures the reader he is not mad. As he begins the detailed tail of his murder, the reader, becomes certain of the man's deranged mental state. Having a dilemma with the elderly man he works for, he decides that he must destroy his employer and his evil eye. After he suffocates him, the lunatic takes the old man's body, cuts it into pieces and buries him under the floor. When the police arrive the killer's confidence begins to fade as his "acute sense of hearing" notices heartbeats. Rapidly going insane, he believes that the police are mocking him and finally confesses to the crime. This story is a true thriller. Hearing comments from my peers about the story at a camp fire, I just had to check it out myself. The only limitation that I would give on a recommendation is for children under 13. Because of the graphic descriptions and the nature of the story it can be a little scary for the youth.

Poe's finest forte in the story is his development of characters as well as his detailed imagery. With a few words he can paint a perfect picture of the scene and of the characters. "--Nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute." In this first creative line of the story, Poe starts of by having the character deny insanity. By doing this the reader right away suspects that he is. Poe's characterization method is original and admirable to other authors. His morbid imagery is also legendary as he writes to describe the stalking of the old man, "..
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Format: Library Binding
A friend with a 9-year-old daughter recently asked me to recommend some graphic novels based on classic stories, and when I saw this title at the library, I decided to check it out. There are not many graphic novels based on classic literature, especially for younger readers, and so I was intrigued by this book. Well, I appreciate the attempt, but the execution leaves much to be desired. Firstly, I felt that the adaptation lacked the emotional pull that Poe's prose exerts over the reader. This is perhaps due to the need for brevity in condensing the story for the graphic novel format. Secondly, I felt the formatting of the text boxes detracted from the visual pull of the illustrations. The illustrations are actually quite good but the text boxes are placed in such a way that it overpowers the illustrations and diverts the reader's attention away from the illustrations which are actually the highlight of the book.

The recommended age given by the publisher is 9-12, but younger and competent readers might be able to appreciate this. The language does appear to be stilted in trying to keep with Poe's style of writing, but this may put off young readers who are not used to the language style used here.
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Format: Paperback
Published in 1850, Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart is one of the best known and most memorable short stories ever written. Since there are dozens of commentaries and reviews here and elsewhere on the internet, in the spirit of freshness, I will take a particular focus - obsession with an eye or eyes - and compare Poe's tale with a few others.

In `The Painter of Eyes' by Jean Richepin, we encounter an obscure artist who sells his soul to the Devil in order to paint at least one masterpiece. There is a bit of writing attached to the corner of his great painting that reads: "The Devil has informed me as to the secret of painting eyes. That secret consists of decanting the life from the models one wishes to represent and fixing that life on the canvas. In doing that, one slowly kills the people whose portrait one paints. . . . It is sufficient for me to know that I have made this masterpiece. I commend my soul to the prayers, in case the Evil One does not leave me the time. . . ." The writing ends abruptly since death strikes the artist in mid-sentence.

In `The Gaze' another story by Jean Richepin, the narrator peers through the window of a cell at a madman holding his arms spread, head uplifted, transfixed by a point on a wall near the ceiling. The doctor-alienist relates to the narrator how this inmate is obsessed with the gaze of eyes from an artist's portrait. "For there was something in that gaze, believe me, that could trouble not only the already-enfeebled brain of a man afflicted with general paralysis, but even a sound and solid mind." Turns out, the narrator discovers the doctor is also driven mad by these eyes. So much so, the doctor took a scissors to the painting.
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Format: Paperback
I love the old man, but his staring eye gives me the creeps. I'll just have to chop him up. And bury the bits under his bed. BUT HIS HEART KEPT BEATING. I hear it, I tell you!

Gothic checklist:
Obsessed main character who thinks he's perfectly normal - check. He's not even crazy, he just has super hearing and sometimes hears things other people don't.

Innocent person who has no idea that horror is about to unfold - check. Poor old man.

Ruined building - nope. Perfectly normal setting, but the effect of the moon and wind out the old man's window is delightfully creepy.
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