Who came first? The mentally-ill person, or the man who only wrote about them? Edgar Allan Poe truly experienced the bittersweet symphony with being a writer of his caliber; he wrote with such proficiency that he often would become unable to escape the dark world, filled with the aspects of gothic literature, in which he created. He also faced numerous obstacles throughout his lifespan, which seemed to plague him by always returning right after the previous issue have been resolved. From poverty, moving around constantly, and his wife’s sporadic slowly declining health, to never being recognized as the gifted writer he truly was; Poe’s problems never seemed to disappear (Bain and Flora, 368). The pen was his shield. He habitually sought refuge behind it during these dark times, using his characters as subtle disguises to reflect his true pain while protecting the little pride he had left. The narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart struggled adjacently to his creator in the same twisted worlds they were desperately trying to escape: their own minds. The similarities are visible in the conscious and subconscious decision making processes of the two men. Poor emotional regulation was a constant topic of discussion and cause of drama in the works of Poe. Although it is cleverly disguised throughout his writing, Edgar Allan Poe projected a relationship between his mental state and that of the narrators in The Tell-Tale Heart.
The deep, dark, and gloomy tone in this piece can be attributed to the fact that Poe often chose to write in the gothic style of literature. He actively and wholeheartedly embraced all of the aspects pertaining to gothic literature. His familiarity with the distraught emotions involved in this style allowed him to captivate readers. The personal touch to his characters created stories with a unique element of realism to them. Eventually though, his fixation to this genre led to his way of writing becoming his way of life.
“The relationship of Poe’s work to the Gothic tradition... For Poe, both the stylistics and the thematics of Gothic fiction became a major aesthetic imperative, partly because he found in the Gothic a means of giving objective expression to the subjective demons at large in his short, sad life…” (Thomson, Voller, and Frank, 331) In essence Poe’s stories are almost as if they were journal entries of his own, since his characters and himself are often going through similar problems at similar times. He found comfort in this genre simply due to the fact that this is what he could relate to most.
Oftentimes when the ones we love feel pain, so do we. This was undoubtedly the case for Poe and his beloved wife, Virginia. In 1842, the year before Poe authored The Tell-Tale Heart, his wife had a near death experience due to a ruptured blood vessel, which in turn reshaped both of their lives more than they would ever knew. Apparently, this is the credited moment in time when “Poe’s personal life took on a darker tone” (Bain...