Functionality of Suspense in the Poe’s and Shelley's Novels

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Suspense is dominant in both Poe’s and Shelley's novels. However, suspense is demonstrated similarly and differently by the two authors. Firstly, in the short story “The Tell- Tale Heart” Poe used the technique of suspense efficiently by employing frantic diction and first-person point-of-view to bring an unsettling atmosphere: “I moved it slowly—very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep Poe describes the scene in detail, through the narrator’s words, this shows that, Poe is using first person point-of-view which is the same way how Shelley writes to impact the story. in both the short story and the letters Walton wrote, the usage of first-person point-of-view is used to increase the intensiveness of suspense. 

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On the other hand the main similarity and focus of both authors is the mindset and usage of the technique of suspense in order to captivate the readers spirit and soul. Secondly There are many differences between the style and impact of Walton’s letters in Frankenstein and Poe’s use of suspense etc. in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. For example in Walton’s letters, he states the information about his trip, the places he is going to, other individuals and his own personal feelings about nature to his sister as a letter format but however the unknown narrator in “The Tell Tale Heart” only mainly focused on his own personal thoughts, feelings and keeping them to himself. 

Additionally the literary device of suspense in two stories are used somewhat differently since in Frankenstein’s letters it did not evoke a strong horrifying emotion like the “The Tell Tale Heart” did. for example Shelley writes, “Remember me with affection, should you never hear from me again”. This reveals that Shelley's usage of suspense is unlike Poe’s since it had a very frail tension, on the other hand Poes writes:

“No doubt I now grew very pale;—but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased—and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound—much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath—and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly—more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased.” 

This quote reveals to the readers very strong emotions since it brings a terrifying and anxious Atmosphere. Therefore the usage of suspense is different from Poes and Shelley. Many authors use the literary device of suspense to evoke emotions or to keep the audience active throughout the course of the story, without suspense many literary masterpieces like Frankenstein and “The Tell-Tale Heart” won't be noticeable today.

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Functionality of Suspense in the Poe’s and Shelley’s Novels. (2022, February 23). WritingBros. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from
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