4. An “unreliable narrator”is the teller of a story whose version of events cannot be fully trusted. Unreliable narrators are prevented from seeing the full picture in some way, whether because of youth, lack of knowledge, mental illness, ulterior motive, etc. Each of the narrators in these three stories could be considered unreliable in some way. Choose ONE of the stories in this selection and discuss which aspects of the story the narrator sees clearly and which are distorted. Provide direct quotes to support your claims. “The Tell-Tale Heart”5. Describe the personality of the narrator. He insists that he is “dreadfully nervous,”but not insane. Do you agree? What does he take pride in? What is revealed about his personality in the way he goes about killing the old man and hiding his body? What is revealed through his interactions with the police? 6. Consider the importance of isolated body parts in this story, including the old man’s “vulture eye,”his beating heart, and, eventually, his limbs. How does the disconnected description of his body mirror the narrator’s thoughts? Explain using 2-3 passages. “The Black Cat”7. How does the narrator change over the course of the story? Describe the stages he goes through from his youth until the end of the tale. What explanations does he give for moving into each stage? How do his changes comment on human nature in general? Do you think he ultimately shows remorse for his choices? “The Cask of Amontillado”8. In contrast to the narrators of the other two stories, readers know very little about the motive of Montresor’s murder of Fortunato in this story. What evidence do you find in the story to explain his actions? Does Fortunato provoke him? Does Montresor’s personality offer any clues as to why he takes Fortunato’s life?Does he feel remorse for his actions, or does he feel they are justified? Develop a theory of his motive using 2-3 passages from the story.
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