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Comparison Between Tell Tale Heart, Jane Eyre And Fruit At The Bottom Of The Bowl Essay, Research Paper

Comparative Essay: Compare how the authors of ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl´ and ‘The Tell Tale Heart´ and ‘Jane Eyre ´ explore the theme of madness Mad, Madness

1. (Adjective) someone who is mad has a mental illness, which often causes him or her to behave in strange ways. The stories ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl ´ written by Ray Bradbury, ‘The Tell Tale Heart´ written by Edgar Allan Poe and ‘ Jane Eyre ´ written by Charlotte Bronte are fictional accounts which explore the theme of madness. ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl ´, is a story that portrays murder. This is similar to ‘The Tell Tale Heart´. Murder is the key theme to both stories. The two authors both portray the murderer´s descent into madness. The murderer in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart´ story becomes obsessed with his hallucination of the sound of his victim’s still-beating heart. The murderer in ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl ´ has been angered by Huxley, the new man in Acton´s wife´s life and confronts Huxley about his wife´s whereabouts. Eventually Acton kills Huxley and becomes obsessed with clearing his fingerprints and all the items that he might have touched.

In the end, the murderer in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart´ confesses to his crime. The murderer in ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl´´ gets arrested by the police as he cleans the attic (a point where Acton obsession is at it´s greatest). Both stories show people who are driven to acts of unspeakable horror by the dark fantasies that haunt them.

‘ Jane Eyre ´ is slightly different. Madness is not the focus of the story. It is about the main progression through the life of ‘Jane ´. However, madness involves the wife of Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester owns the house that Jane is living in. His wife has been secretly concealed at the start but as the story progresses her character becomes more apparent until Mr. Rochester and Jane try to marry and her brother reveals her character. There were strange happenings in the household like the fire in Jane´s room and the ripped vale. The Tell-Tale Heart story is grotesque. The story of the murder and dismemberment of an old man with an “evil eye” turns the stomach. Although in ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl ´ Acton´s madness was driven by obsession which eventually got the worst of him. ‘ Jane Eyre ´ seems more realistic in comparison to both of the short stories.

‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl´ is described in the third person narrative. A third person narrative basically means that we are given an account of what occurred in the situation. Hopefully this would make it less biased because it would not come from the principle characters (the character´s perspective) and have a detached independent viewpoint. This is shown in ‘ The Fruit at the bottom of the Bowl ´.

‘ William Acton rose to his feet´ is an example of third person narrative. It is from the perspective of a narrator or storyteller.

The Tell Tale Heart and Jane Eyre are the complete opposite because it is presented as a first person narratives. A first person narrative basically means that the person telling the story is a character. The perspective of the character, in ‘ The Tell Tale Heart´ is the murderer. It is a more detailed account of the characters feelings and thoughts throughout the story. This account provides a secret view into the personal and distinctive emotions from the character.

‘ I smiled, – for what had I to fear?´. This is an example of the first person narrative. This is from the perspective of a principle character. The first person can be shown because words like ‘I´ and ‘ myself´ are used. Jane Eyre is not narrated by the mad person but by Jane. Jane is young and naïve and therefore she is inexperienced. Madness, in her age and time was overlooked so when she experienced madness she was extremely scared.

The most apparent and useful form of perspective would be the first person especially in the ‘ Tell Tale Heart´. This emphasizes true feelings and emotions of madness through the character involved. There is less detail outside of the person but it portrays better feelings of madness through the first person. The singular opinion can tell us the feeling of murder but can´t show any other feelings outside the first person, how other characters were feeling. The third person provides a better external view of madness but no genuine individual feelings.

All stories link death with the mad character. In the short stories, it involves murder. In the ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl´ the murder in described using flashbacks. A flash back means looking back or using retrospect. This is shown in many quotes in the ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl ´.

The author starts with the murder, uses flashbacks and ends with Acton increasingly becoming madder and madder. Acton recollects about this, ‘Finger on Huxley´s doorbell. Huxley´s door opening.“ oh!” said Huxley shocked. It´s you Acton”. “Where is my wife, Huxley”

This is referred to after Acton had murdered Huxley. Acton himself thinks to himself how he heard ‘Huxley´s voice word for word and the conversation they had only an hour ago´. The quotations show the flashbacks that Acton was experiencing. These flash backs are used as a build up until Acton becomes so frustrated. They also emphasise how confused his mind is.

The ‘ The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl ´ is a retrospective view from a guilty man. The story is not a build up because the act has already been committed. The actual murder isn´t described in detail. ‘ He gave Acton a shove as they struggled. Acton fell, got up, touching the wall, and ran toward Huxley again. Acton strangled Huxley. Huxley died´. This isn´t graphic detail. The story is focused on what happens after the murder. The quote used is a flashback by Acton. This kind of description is not as effective as a build up because it doesn´t show the madness of the actual murder. There is no atmosphere to the story or tense build from the start of the story. However, as the story continues there is a build up beginning because time runs out for Acton. The tension is released when Acton is arrested.

‘ The Tell Tale Heart ´ concentrates all aspects, on the build up of the story, a brief comment on the murder and afterwards. The first person narrative provides the feelings of character .The build up used come from the characters personal insanity. ‘ It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder. ´This refers to the character´s feeling of excitement and delirium. The character is enjoying the moment of sheer evil and terror, which he is causing the old man.

This madness is uncontrollable and the old man had no idea that someone had a grudge with him. The character stresses the grudge.

‘ I think it was the eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture- a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees, I decided to take this old man´s life´. This shows that the character (murderer) thought that it was the old man´s eye that made his rage so intense that he thought that the old man deserved to die.

The fact is if you killed anybody because of a physical feature there must be a pure problem with insanity. We can see the madness but the character is unaware.

The detail of the murder is quite specific. There is detail in the way that the murder is committed and the evil and sick things that the murderer had caused. The narrator says : ‘… I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed over him´ and

‘ First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and legs´. This shows the pure detail and planning that the character had done. The body was dismembered so it could be discarded underneath the floorboards. The cunning of the murderer and the intent for murder is the most effective way to show madness and or anger. The build –up and the use of the first person adds to the intensity of the story and the atmosphere never declines or decreases because of the murderers feeling afterwards. The reaction of the murder is interesting. In ‘Jane Eyre´ the mad person Bertha Mason, attempts to murder Rochester by burning him and to kill her brother. We know little about her feelings at the time….

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