What is the total effect of a story? The total effect of a story is the specific response an author expects to get from his/her readers. In "The Tell-Tale Heart," by Edgar Allen Poe, is complete and total horror. The setting, plot, character and even point of view contribute to this total effect of horror.
The setting contributes to this total effect in several different ways. All of the shudders in the house were closed, so no one could see anything from the outside in or the inside out. This was scary because no one ever knew what went on in that house except the old man with the googily eye and the murderer. The house was old and creaky, and, during the midnight hours, was pitch black. This creaky old house is a classic for horror stories and films, so it definitely adds to the total effect.
The plot also gives that same feeling of horror. The way the murderer watched the old man night after night, for hours at a time. You got the total effect of horror when he flipped the bed onto the old man, and then chopped him into little tiny pieces and hid him the floorboards. Then the police came to see about a scream that was reported earlier. The man led them through the house, claiming that the old man was out of town for a while. He finally sat down in the exact spot where the old man had been buried under the floorboards. What eventually made the man confess to what he had done when he imagined that he heard the old manís heart beating from under the floorboards. It got louder and louder until finally he thought they(the officers)were just driving him insane and they heard the heart to and they must have heard it until he just jumped up, ripped off the floorboards and said "I did it, I killed him," pointing at the pieces of the man.
Characterization is the biggest part of the total effect of horror. The man seemed normal enough, except for the fact that the old manís "vulture eye" made a little crazy. He was very normal, until the "eye" drove him to stalking the man while he was asleep, and then finally killed him. At the beginning of the story, or the end, whichever you would like to call it, it was the beginning, and the end, he kept saying "IíM NOT MAD," it was sort of, well, a psycho thing to say after chopping someone into little pieces and hiding them in the floorboards, that kind of told you that he WAS mad.
Another aspect of the story that contributed to the total effect was point of view. It is in first person point of view, and if it wasn't, the story would not be the same. If you knew what the old man was thinking, then what the murderer thought he was thinking would be absolutely irrelevant in the story, because you would know what he thought the old guy was thinking was what he was really thinking or if he was thinking about something totally different. If we knew what the police were thinking then, in the same way as the old man, the murderer's ideas of what they were thinking would be irrelevant because we would know that that was or was not what they were thinking.
As you can see, the plot, setting, character and point of view all play major roles in the total effect of the story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe.