Induced Insanity: How Trauma Can Change a Man Essay

Induced Insanity: How Trauma Can Change a Man Essay

Length: 988 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Madness is relative. The sanity of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart is best approached from two sides. One of which are from the narrator’s point of view, and the other is a neutral perspective. This is a man who stalked another, murdered him, and covered his traces only to be harassed by his victim’s heartbeat. With the narrator’s consistent denial of his madness, his homicide and overwhelming guilt is what induced his severe paranoia and apparent insanity. However, his actions were committed through fear, while his story affected by false memory and trauma. The narrator’s experience shows how a truly traumatic event can prove to completely destroy and alter any man’s sanity.

A traumatic event is an experience that completely overwhelms the person’s ability to cope with the emotions involved with that experience. In many cases, it may take weeks or years for someone to cope with their immediate circumstances. The narrator’s severe denial of his actions displays his inability to cope with what he did, which shows the psychological trauma that he went through. Trauma can lead to retrograde amnesia, the inability to recall events prior to the traumatic event. Coupled with false memories, much of the narrator’s story is misperceived and induced by madness.

In the opening paragraph of The Tell Tale Heart, the narrator exclaims, “True! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? [. . .] Hearken! And observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story” (Poe 43). It is clear that the narrator is explaining his story to someone. The fact that the entire story is being told in the past immediately indicates that he was in a different state...


... middle of paper ...


...e may very well be trying to convince the mysterious ‘eye’ that he’s not mad and what he did was indeed the right thing to do.

Trauma can change a man. In fact, posttraumatic stress disorder can develop as a result. However, in the narrator’s case, the situation is way more severe. He became delusional and used logical fallacies to prove a case he could never win. Although the narrator may have been insane as the story was told, he was mentally stable up until he committed the murder.


Works Cited

Lovecraft, H.P. “Supernatural Horror in Literature.” Dagon and Other Macabre Tales. London: Victor Gollancz, 1967. This text is a gaslight etext taken from http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/superhor.htm.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Tell-Tale Heart.” rpt. in Fiction: A Pocket Anthology, 5th Edition. Ed. R.S. Gwynn. New York: Pearson/Penguin Academics, 2007. 43-47.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Insanity Defense: Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI)

- “Not guilty by reason of insanity” (NGRI) has often perplexed even the most stringent of legal and psychiatric professionals for centuries. Moreover, it has transcended into the pop culture, as a “loophole”for the criminal society. However, the insanity defense is only used in less than 1% of criminal cases, and used successfully in only 10-25% of those cases (Torry and Billick, 2010). In order to successfully be acquitted by reason of insanity, the legal team, paired with psychiatric professionals, must prove that the defendant is not legally responsible for the crime, despite the evidence that they executed the crime....   [tags: insanity, crime, defendant]

Better Essays
2413 words (6.9 pages)

Human Induced Climate Change Essay examples

- Human Induced Climate Change (HICC) is the increase of greenhouse gases that is caused by human activities. This has led to warming of the climate, which causes problems such as increase in air and ocean temperatures and rising in sea levels. A possible solution to this issue is Alternative Energy Source. This is energy that is not based on the burring of fossil fuels. An area of an Alternative Energy source is Solar Energy. This essay will look at how Solar Energy is used, if Solar Energy is a good Solution to solve HICC and the positives and negatives of economic and environmental factors of Solar Energy....   [tags: energy, gases, solar]

Better Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Trauma And Its Effects On Society Essay

- One Hundred Years of Trauma Trauma is a deeply disturbing and stressful life experience that many people face every day. It effects have been experienced millions of of people. Everyday, stories of people who feel the effects of past traumatic events in their present day life are published online, on television, on the radio, and even in movies. It is a hot topic in today 's society, because of how extremely tragic the effects are. Many scientist and social workers are trying to figure out how to lessen the effects of trauma in people who experience them....   [tags: Psychological trauma]

Better Essays
2588 words (7.4 pages)

Essay on The Effects Of Trauma On The Classroom

- “26% of U.S. children will experience a traumatic event before they reach the age of four. More than 66% of U.S. children will experience a traumatic event by the time they reach the age of sixteen.” Many people believe that trauma is an experience when in reality trauma is a response, as for complex trauma, complex trauma is the effect of multiple long-term events. Many people do not think about how complex trauma effects a child in the classroom, but if a child is starving, or moving from home to home, or in a situation of abuse, there is a good chance that their spelling words and math facts are not going to be the first thing on their minds during the day....   [tags: Psychological trauma]

Better Essays
806 words (2.3 pages)

Psychology Critique Of Trauma And Ptsd Essay

- Journal Critique of Trauma and PTSD in patients with Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder Destin Jones General Psychology Ms. Christian The overall problem expressed in this article is that the author believes that Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome or (PTSD) is under-diagnosed and put off to the side as a main concern. Though as it states in the article, Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome and Trauma have a high prevalence in patients that have a severe mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective disorder....   [tags: Psychological trauma]

Better Essays
895 words (2.6 pages)

Types Of Trauma And Addiction Essay

- treehouserehab.org - How Single Event Traumas Can Lead To Addiction Sooner or later, we all through a traumatic event that makes life more difficult for us to handle. Trauma can be a sustained series of events (such as an abusive relationship) or a single event. Sadly, even a single traumatic event may compel someone to turn to drugs and alcohol. In fact, it can even cause to addiction to these substances, throwing a person 's life even further off track. Understanding how single event trauma can lead to addiction can help you fight back against this co-occurring disorder....   [tags: Psychological trauma]

Better Essays
1382 words (3.9 pages)

Trauma And Treatment For Children Essay

- Trauma and Treatment for Children Sexual abuse as a child maltreatment became a social issue in the 1970 is through the efforts of the child protection movement and the feminist movement. Historical changes occurred, whereas the perceptions of children changed from property to individuals with rights. Sexual abuse is a traumatic event for the children and the impact felt throughout the life span. Because of the secrecy of this exploitation, the true number of victims is unknown. Janoff-Bulman (1992) asserts that trauma develops with exposure to an environment that lacks predictability, benevolence and worth....   [tags: Psychological trauma]

Better Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Insanity Plea

- Most court cases end in one of the following two ways: Guilty or Not Guilty. In addition to these simple verdicts, information is sometimes provided as to why the jury came to its conclusion. Such is the case for Not guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). While the first two scenarios are simple and fair, the last choice has raised more than a few eyebrows over time. Many believe that the Insanity Plea is a simple way to get a high-stakes criminal off the hook, though many would also disagree and say that the Insanity Plea is a justifiable resolution to court cases....   [tags: court cases, jury, insanity defense]

Better Essays
1204 words (3.4 pages)

The Insanity Defense Essay

- When someone commits a crime, he or she may use mental illness as a defense. This is called an insanity plea or insanity defense. What the insanity defense does is try to give the alleged perpetrator a fair trial. At least in extreme cases, society agrees with this principle. The problem is where do we draw the line. Under what circumstances is a person considered insane, and when are they not. The trouble with the insanity defense in recent years is the assumption that virtually all criminals have some sort of mental problem....   [tags: A Crime Of Insanity]

Free Essays
2529 words (7.2 pages)

Essay on Exercise-induced Asthma

- Exercise-induced asthma is an acute transient airway narrowing that occurs during and most often after exercise. It is objectively defined as a 10% fall in forced expiratory volume in the first second from baseline that may be measured up to thirty minutes following exercise (M&M). Exercise-induced asthma occurs not only in elite athletes and asthmatics, but it can also be found in non-asthmatics. The stimulation of exercise-induced asthma can range anywhere from inhaling allergens to hyperventilation or intense exercise....   [tags: Exercise-induced Asthma]

Better Essays
1782 words (5.1 pages)