18 December 2013
The Pit and the Pendulum
“Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, the mouse ran down. Hickory Dickory Dock.” Throughout the story, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, Poe creates a suspenseful reading for the reader. The narrator must avoid falling into the giant pit. He fends off rats and the razor sharp blades on the pendulum. He is trapped in a cell and towards the end of the story the cell walls begins to close in on him. As they are about to close in and pressure him into the pit, he is rescued by the French Army. In “The Pit and the Pendulum”, Poe portrays the theme of having hope through dire situations to help one survive which is represented through the use of tone creating suspense, internal conflict within the narrator and characterization of the narrator.
Throughout the short story “The Pit and the Pendulum, the tone throughout the short story has suspense but also is hopeful to create the theme of having hope through dire situations to help one survive. In the beginning, the narrator thinks to himself, “I saw them fashion syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded.” (Poe). As the narrator is lying down in the apartment, he sees something mentioning his name. It scares him because he does not know what it is. Furthermore, the narrator continues to lay in his cell, “I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment.” (Poe). The surroundings around scare him even more. He does not know where he is at the moment. It sets a tone of suspense because he is not sure if he will make it out alive. Finally, trying to save himself “Very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state. Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility.” (Poe). A stream of hope enters the narrator as he is stuck in a certain situation. Eventually, he receives a full memory of where he is and successfully moves on. The tone creates suspense and hope throughout the short story and gives the narrator hope to move on in the situation at which he is trapped.
Further, when it comes to deciding life or death, it becomes a major internal conflict within the narrator while creating the theme of having hope through dire situations to help one survive. The narrator mentions, “I saw that the crescent was designed to cross the region of the heart.” (Poe). He wants to survive while fighting with the swinging pendulum. He makes the wise decisions to try to stay as far away as possible. Resulting, “I forced myself to ponder upon the sound of the crescent as it should pass across the garment – upon the peculiar thrilling sensation which the friction of cloth produces on the nerves.” (Poe). The narrator has to take risky precautions whenever he moves because the swinging pendulum, at any point, can brush up against the garment and easily kill him. As a final point, “Still I quivered in every nerve to think how slight a sinking of the machinery would precipitate that keen, glistening axe upon my bosom.” (Poe). When thinking of a way to escape, it made the narrator even more nervous to think about what could happen. He would either have to make the right decision and survive or he could make the wrong move…