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(This is initially a speech delivered for the Interpretive Reading Manual (Advanced Communication Series) of Toastmaster International. My Advanced Speech 1)

Main objective of Advanced Speech 1 is to Read A Story — It challenges the speaker to enthrall the audience with a story that the audience isn’t even aware of the reader. The speech should be 8 to 10 minutes.

I chose one of Edgar Allan Poe’s story for this project

The Tell Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe

Aside from the story being a literary classic, I chose this because of the protagonist’s (who was also the narrator) sober madness, which I believe would be an advantage in telling a story. If I could deliver the speech in such a way that my audience would think that I am disturbed and ready for the psychiatric hospital then I could tell that I did my job right.

Another reason is that I am really into vicious, dark and eerie stories. So, if I could get my audience transported to this realm then it would be a good chill for them.

But then, if you can spare a few minutes and haven’t read The Tell Tale Heart of Poe, now is a good chance. The story is full of irony and suspense, also INSANITY for the part of the narrator. (summary & analysis)


You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded –with what caution –with what foresight –with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it –oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly –very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously –cautiously (for the hinges creaked) –I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights –every night just at midnight –but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept. (for the whole story)

By the way if you are curious on how the speech went. Let’s just say I was happy. I need some improvement on some areas specially on my pauses. But below is a piece of what my evaluator had remarked about my performance

Let me open the door inch by inch. I glanced inside and saw a speaker who was eager to advance herself that she took the risk of a story that often gives a cringe to the safe-minded and weak at heart. The story,  because of its vicious nature, showed a part of our speaker’s personality – her unquestionable bravery to walk through uncharted territory.

More readings:

When I Was A Kid (Toastmasters: Basic Speech 8)

A Creative Fight (Toastmasters: Basic Speech 9)

My Father’s Promise (Toastmasters: Basic Speech 10)

Toastmasters: A Love Story