Sunday, October 14, 2012

Insane Madness

Adjectives out of order
Active Voice
Passive Voice

         This week I am including a section of another essay for yet another English class. This passage was used to explain the reasoning behind the obvious insanity of the narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart.
Differing from the insanity of Victor Frankenstein and his monster, Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart showcases how madness can overcome a person and drive him ultimately to murder. The main character of the story, an unnamed narrator, is quick to let the readers know that he is merely nervous and not mad, “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 … how, then, am I mad?” (GASS pg. 13). This quick argument, unorganized and fidgety, against his madness only makes the reader believe that he is mad even more. The idea that the narrator claims that he is not mad even before we are given reason to believe that he is supports the idea of his ultimate paranoia, which can quickly lead to madness. The narrator tells the reader, “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this!” (GASS pg. 13). The narrator seems quite calm and collected until he ends this statement with the idea of the olds man’s eye. It is this outburst that begins his obsession and paranoia. He is so troubled by the old man’s eye that he soon considers murder. Heart racing, sweat dripping, he stalks the old man and soon kills him and it is after that that he tries to reassure the reader that he is not crazy by telling us, “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” (GASS pg. 14). It is this statement that pushes his madness over the edge. A sane person would not generally plan to kill someone over such a trivial fact, if at all. Overall, the narrator’s constant insisting that he is merely nervous and not mad supports the notion that he is indeed mad rather than just nervous.


  1. You have a few active voice phrases in here, but I think you forgot to mark them (none are highlighted). Four lines above your absolute, you wrote “…I had no desire.” That would be one or there are a couple others I noticed too. Oh! Actually you marked one, but did it in the passive voice color. “He stalks the old man” would be active. I like your absolutes and adjectives out of order. Nice piece.

  2. excellent job, Lauren. You seem to really have a good handle on the brush strokes and now the notion of voice. Congrats!

    (Yeah, looks like you just used the wrong color on "He stalks the old man.")