Analysis of a
short story – E. A. Poe - THE TELL-TALE HEART”
Edgar Allen Poe’s short story
The Tell-Tale Heart was
published in 1843. In the story an unnamed character decides to kill
an old man because of the old man’s vulture eye”.
nights the murderer creeps into the old
The Imagery in Edgar Allan Poes - The Fall of the House of Usher” A Gothic Short Story between Gloom and Insanity TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction The uncanny in Gothic Literature Elements of American Gothic Literature The gothic elements in The Fall of the House of Usher The mansion and its gloomy atmosphere
Term Paper Langston Hughes and the ‘New Negro’ Model of Equality In this paper I seek to explore in some detail how equality for African Americans developed in the United States and I will therefore raise some crucial questions such as: What is meant by equality? Or more importantly, who is equal
Early Autumn by Langston Hughes
The short story „Early Autumn“ by the American author Langston Hughes, originated in the year 1963, deals with the coincidental meeting of a former couple and the re-emerging emotions of the heartbroken and desperate female protagonist.
The short story is set some unspecified time after the breakup of the main characters Bill and Mary that have split up for an “not very important” reason (line2). Considering that Bill has two kids with his wife and Mary having three with her husband it can be assumed that multiple years have passed between the break up and the following coincidental meeting in the Washington Square Park at dawn.
Mary gets her ex-boyfriend´s attention by saying his name which is being followed by a short conversation where both Bill and Mary state their current living situation. At the end of the conversation Mary invites Bill to meet her and her family someday which Bill accepts to do. The ex-couple departures as soon as Mary´s bus arrives and the story ends with a thoughtful Mary that has forgotten to give Bill her address to come and meet her in the future.
The story begins with a flashback to the days when Bill and Mary still were a couple. Like the rest of the story this segment is being narrated by an all-knowing storyteller that reflects what is happening, what has happened and what Mary is thinking. This flashback is a short summary that tells the reader that Mary and Bill once been in love until “something not very important had come between them” (lines 2-3) which led to them not talking to one another.
This impulsive break up over something unimportant tells the reader right away that this relationship wasn´t the sturdiest kind of relationship to begin with. The speaker continues to summarize by telling the reader that Mary went on to rashly marry a man “she thought she loved” (line 4) while Bill left, now feeling resentful towards women. This review of the follow up of the break up tells us something about the characterization of Bill and Marry.
Bill seems to have valued this relationship up until the point of the unnecessary break up which can be seen in his feelings towards women after the break up. From this point on he feels bitter about women which might stem from him being let down by his ex-girlfriend that seems to have replaced him quickly after the break up. So this makes her the one that initiated this break up.
Mary on the other hand replaced her ex-boyfriend with a man that she doesn´t even really loves. The following impulsive marriage with this man that she doesn´t really love shows the at times thoughtless nature of Mary as well as her extreme comprehension with this situation after the break up. Instead of trying to get back into contact with Bill and maybe getting back together again she replaces him with another man to fill the void that Bill has left in her life.
The story continues with the coincidental meeting of Bill and Mary in Washington Square Park. Mary begins a conversation by saying Bill´s full name which leads to Bill stopping. The speaker explains that he didn´t recognize his ex-girlfriend at first which comes from the fact that she looks old in Bill´s eyes.
That Mary looks old to him might have two different reasons: The first one being that Mary has lost her beauty over the years after their departure because of the loveless life she has brought herself in. The other reason she looks old to Bill might be because to him she has lost all her attractiveness because of what she did to him. He might resent her so much that this blurs his vision when looking at Mary.
Seeing how both reasons don´t contradict one another it might also be possible that both interpretations are right. When he finally recognizes her he asks her where she had come from. Mary responds by lifting up her face expectantly to receive a kiss but Bill has already held out his hand for a handshake which Mary takes. That she expects a kiss from her ex-boyfriend again might be interpreted in two different ways.
The lifting of her face might be a reflex from older days in which Bill kissed Mary every time they see each other and this coincidental meeting might take her back to these days which would make Mary feel like a younger girl again or it might be interpreted as Mary still having an affection for Bill just like she did all these years ago. After Mary answered Bill´s question by telling him that she is currently living in New York he smiles politely while saying “Oh” (line14) in a surprised manner which is being followed with a little frown. This surprised gesture of Bill indicates that he thinks poorly of Ma.....[read full text]
This would clear up a contradiction with the character of Bill. While Bill has been shown as a polite man throughout this story he was shown as rude when he makes a compliment towards Mary but thinks in actuality he thinks poorly of her. This would show that not Bill but Mary herself has this negative view on herself. But seeing how it is unclear, if the speaker actually is Mary or if it is an omniscient narrator (allwissender/auktorialer Erzähler) that isn´t related to either of the two characters but rather a biased entity observing the situation, I will continue to title the storyteller simply as “the speaker”.
Next up the speaker gives insight into the emotions that Mary is currently going through. The speaker explains that Mary is “desperately reaching back into the past” (line 27) which explains quite clear that Mary is clinging on her past and with that he past self, her past relationship with Bill and her old life in general which shows her as wanting to escape the loveless life sh.....