Style of language

The language of the story can appear fragmented, as comments, explanations, and repetitions are sometimes inserted in the middle of a sentence: “I undid the lantern cautiously – oh, so cautiously – cautiously (for the hinges creaked)” (p. 155, ll. 16-17). This is done to draw attention to the line, bring clarifications, strengthen the message of the text, or show the unstable state of mind of the narrator.

Some words are written in italics, suggesting the narrator’s emphasis and desperation: “I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye – not even his – could have detected any thing wrong” (p. 157, ll. 14-15); “It grew louder – louder – louder!” (p. 158, l. 10)

The text features little dialogue and is mostly written as a monologue or a confession made in retrospective. The narrator reports the conversations between himself and other characters but only presents the full dialogue on a few, especially dramatic occasions: “ ‘Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!’ ” (p. 158, ll. 18-19).


A simile is a figure of speech in which two things ar...

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