The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ The Tell-Tale Heart Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1843) | Written by: Edgar Allan Poe | Published by: Bantam Classics

The Tell-Tale Heart
Thug Notes Summary and Analysis

Da narrator of this story definitely one tweaked-out gangsta.

Not only is he always talkin like he jus’ popped 17 Adderals, but dis thug jus’ killed an old man fo’ no good reason- well kinda. We’ll get to dat later.

Our boy livin’ with an old man who ain’t neva done him dirty o’ nothin. But there’s somethin bout dis geezer dat he jus’ can’t shake- his fugly-ass blue eye. Brutha like “Look I love this dude, but THAT. DAMN. EYE. Ughhhhh. This fool GOT TO GO.

Completely normal, amirite? Well according to tha’ narrator, da fact dat he can always keep his cool- whether he icin a brutha or jus’ talkin bout it – mean there ain’t no way he cray in da head. Fo Seven straight nights he creep
on dat old man while he sleepin so he can smoke him. But don’t be thinkin’ dat he was too scurred to do it da first time:, see, prollem was da man’s Evil-ass Eye was shut erry time he came in, so the narrator didn’t do nuthin. On the eighth night, things HAM-His nuts swell to the size of watermelons and he all like: “time to stop fu**in’ around. Let’s do this.” Cept he bones up da entrance, makin da geezer call out “Who Dat?” and open his freaky- deaky eye. Wit da sound of da old man’s heart bangin’ through his ears, da narrator see dat eye, gets all riled up, and mercs dat fool. Cold blooded.

Afta’ choppin him up and hiding da body parts under tha’ flo, (even MO cold-blooded), the 5-0 roll in cuz somebody heard some screamin. Da narrator playin it real cool til he think he hear da old man’s heart
beatin. Da fuzz don’t hear nuthin’ tho. Dat heartbeat get louder and be doggin him so raw dat he breaks down, straight LOSES his sh**, and fesses up to the po-po.

Peep this irony, playbizzle. The narrator start goin off tryin to defend himself like he bein’ accused of doin some crazy sh**. Thing is, it ain’t murder he freakin out about. He flippin’ out cuz folk calllin’ him crazy even though he think he normal as they come. And how he gonna prove dat to us? By confessing to a murder all calm like it ain’t no thang. Nice.

Our boy’s defense don’t get no betta’ after we find out the only reason he hatin’ is cuz ol’ crusty crust got an “Evil Eye.”- whatever that is. Some peeps think dat eye is a symbol fo’ self-knowledge; dat the old dude’s eye jus’ remindin the narrator bout all da whackness he got inside him.

Otha’ scholars gettin’ their Freud on, and say the narrator icin this bruh to show he got power over a father-figure. One of my favorites, though, is a feminist readin, where some folk point out dat da narrator could be a woman. She jus’ so damn tired of bein objectified by a privileged old white dude that she gonna put dat sucka in his place. STREET JUSTICE.

Dat beatin heart got all sorts of interpretations too.

Maybe it’s supernatural, and we got some creepy ghost sh** goin on up in here. Maybe it’s all in da narrator’s head, and jus’ further showin that there’s somethin dark and nasty inside him. Then again, maybe he actually hearin somethin.. And it’s just a bunch o’ bugs gettin’ freak nasty. Fo real. When the narrator drop in to the old man’s room, he talk bout sittin up listenin to things called “Death watches.” What’s a death watch? A G named Thompson lay it down real nice-

“Two or more species of beetle that gnaw in walls and old furniture. During their mating season, they signal by bumping their heads against solid objects, the sound of which superstitiously came to be called the ‘death watch,’ foretelling the death of someone in the house….contemporary descriptions of the rhythmic sounds of these beetles…seem to match the rhythms of one’s own pulse.” (Thompson 2004)

I guess if I had to listen to a buncha bugs goin’ at it all night erry night, I’d go pretty crazy too. Ughhh.

And speaking of crazy, You’d be damn insane not to check out da Thug Notes store and cop some swag. See y’all next week, my well-read ballas. Sparky Sweets OUT.

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