The Tell Tale Heart – Tone and Mood

TONE – “…not dreaming that I was at his door.” Dreaming has the connotation of being positive and the narrators phrasing around the fact was that of the old man being fully unaware of what was happening. This shows us that the narrator felt a comfort in being at the door, knowing that they weren’t going to get caught. The narrator also has a progressive internal conflict with himself as they continues to put doubt in themself and their sanity, this is shown through the use of short and sharp sentences e.g “You make think that I am afraid. But no.” They also restate the same phrases in different styles in an attempt to reassure themself that everything is okay and that they’re in control. This is shown, “I knew that he knew that I was there. He did not see me there. He could not hear me there. He felt me there.” It’s as though the narrator is trying to convince themself that although it was completely obvious that the old man was aware of the narrators presence, they were trying to convince themself that they were still faceless, that they weren’t seen and that they still had the power.

MOOD – “You may think that I became afraid. But no.” This is an example on how the narrator tends to put assume what the reader is thinking. This confuses the reader as they become uncertain on what to actually think. The narrator also states that “Death was standing there.” Death has a connotation of fear and sadness and dying. By stating this, it shows (if not hints at) the narrators intentions of what is about to happen to the old man. He’s about to die. This strikes a feeling in the reader of confusion and the feeling of tension within us rises. As now the story has developed a heightened level of suspense.

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