The State of Mind
Most of the masterpieces of the Edgar Allan Poe usually present the main character neglecting the crucial detail or basic knowledge, which eventually hampers the act and the understanding of the character throughout the narration. Because the act of an individual depends on his state of mind. The slave narratives are commonly based on the idea of lacking knowledge leading to enslavement which is similar to the narratives of Peo as the character usually lacks some sense of common knowledge. In “ Narrative of life” by Frederick Douglass, the major reason for the enslavement of black people was because of their lack of knowledge. Similarly, in the nearly perfect story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator is enslaved by his own state of min because he lacks and overlooks the basic sense of facts.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the writer presents the narrator in a very distinct way. The way of the narrator seems to be unusually and as he, the narrator, frequently tries to convince the reader that he was not a psychopath. As a result, throughout the story, the narrator lacks the common knowledge skipping the facts which leads him to be the murder of an innocent old man. Likewise, in “ Narrative of life” Douglas also explains that because the slave is kept away for the knowledge they have no idea how to get themselves free.
In “Narrative of life” by Douglass, he writes down the conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Auld after Mr.Auld found Mrs. Auld teaching him, where Mr.Auld states that “A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master… Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world.” (Douglass 1023). The statement clearly mentions the reason for not letting the slaves learn as educating them would spoil them in a good way giving them the understanding to stand out and evolving their state of mind enabling them to see what they are really capable of. Comparatively, in the “Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator, because of his madness, is not able to understand and recognize the simple factors leading him to be enslaved by his own state of mind.
The story “Tell-Tale Heart” features many events where one can see how the narrator shows neglecting the common sense blinding and forcing him to act psycho. “I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.” (Poe 763). The following sentence showcase the state of mind of the narrator. The act he claims to have done is impossible in real life. He is basically ignoring the laws of nature. Likely, he claimed that the heartbeat of an old man was growing so loud that the neighbor could hear it (Poe 764). Again the following event, the narrator describes is the complete sign that he has been enslaved by his own recklessness of ignoring the common facts. There is no way a heart can beat that loud. Moreover, the narrator assumes that the officers were able to hear that hideous heartbeat but were faking it with “those hypocritical smiles” and finally accepts to be the murder of the old man (Peo 765). Because he was totally arrogant and overlooked the common knowledge, his behavior was controlled by his low state of madness, making him believe that the heart was really pumping hard and the officers were pretending.
The narrator of the “Tell-Tale Heart” would not have acted the way he did in the story if he had some common sense and knowledge. The claim is made more clear in “Narrative of life” by Douglass. “From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom.” (Douglass 1023). It was the moment when Douglass as a slave found out the way to free himself from slavery. Through the conversation of Mr.Auld, gaining knowledge was the only way to be strong enough to not be enslaved.
Undoubtedly, both the character of “ Tell-Tale Heart” and the slaves from “Narrative of Life” lacked the knowledge and lead them to be enslaved. Their state of mind and there capability of acting consciously were fully manipulated because of enslavement.
Douglass, Frederick. “ Narrative Of The Life.” Norton Anthology of American Literature,
Shorter 9th edition, Vol.1, edited by S. Levine,2017, p1023.
Peo, Edgar Allan “ The Tell-Tale Heart.” Norton Anthology of American Literature,
Shorter 9th edition, Vol.1, edited by Robert S. Levine,2017, p763-765.