The Scream

“The Tell-Tale Heart”: One of Poe’s most iconic stories.

I first read it when I was 23: an overworked and tired graduate student. One foggy Wednesday evening in October of that year—in fact, immediately after I read “The Tell-Tale Heart” in preparation for class—my younger sister asked me to accompany her on a walk around the neighborhood. I gladly took this opportunity for some exercise, and I let my mind wander as we walked. It wandered directly to the story I had just read. When we were about a half a mile from home and walking on the sidewalk of a well-traveled suburban street, I heard faintly from behind, “thump-thump.” I attributed this to my reverie about the story, and I decided to ignore it. “Thump-thump” I heard, slightly louder. “Thump-thump.” I was beginning to wonder what this was, and I was getting somewhat nervous. “Thump-thump,” the beating insisted, “thump-thump” louder still. Finally, the “thump-thump” reached a crescendo, and I could no longer feign comfort. So, I did what I normally do when faced with situations such as this: I screamed. Yes, it was a bloodcurdling scream: my trademark. Needless to say, my sister was quite alarmed. As I finished screaming and reopened my eyes, I looked forward, and I saw the runner, whose steps continued “thump-thump, thump-thump” ever more quietly as he ran ahead of us and he disappeared into the fog.

The moral of this story is that Poe’s writing can really get under one’s skin!

And now, without further ado, I present to you “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Poe book

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