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How Reliability Affects Truth in The Book Nothing But The Truth

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Many people may say the truth about the same story, and their truths can vary depending on the narrator’s credibility or how much of the truth is being told.. “Everyone holds a piece of the truth.” (Mahatma Gandhi) There are always two sides to a story and a result of that is different truths. Truth is molded by your perception and when you see things differently, that can cause your truth to be altered. The theme, truth, is revealed in “Nothing But the Truth” by Avi and “Tell- Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe even though the texts are structured differently.

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In the book “Nothing But the Truth” the idea of truth is expressed when we discover that miscommunication can result in many issues. For instance, “ Mr. Benison: I must have had ten calls last night saying— neighbors, a couple of family people—asking, is it true? I told them look, it wasn’t anything like that. That you didn’t mean it to happen that way./ Miss Narwin: What did you say it meant?/ Mr.Benison: You know, some personal thing, happens all the time…./ Miss Narwin: That’s not what it was! The boy was being rude!/ Mr.Benison: Okay, Peg, I know that, but no one expected, you know, all this…. What people are saying, we’ll never get our budget.” This shows that miscommunication caused many people to assume different things and that not telling the whole truth can lead to a lie. The lie started when one character wasn’t reliable and didn’t tell the whole truth and that caused the truth to adjust. Miss Narwin knows the story but everyone else is assuming what happened. In the text “The Tell- Tale Heart” shows that the truth is based on the character’s perspective and since the narrator of the story wasn’t stable, the reason for why he killed the old man was very unreasonable and contradicts the idea of him not being crazy. According to the narrator, “Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God!– no, no! They heard!– they suspected!– they knew!– they were making a mockery of my horror!… ‘Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit the deed!– tear up the planks! here here!–It is the beating of his hideous heart!” In other words, the narrator believes that the police can hear the beating heart from the dead old man but he is insane and thinks that the police are mocking him. This shows that this was the narrator’s truth which was his truth only and he believes that happened even though it didn’t.

To conclude, the truth can differ based on how much reliable information you are given. In “Nothing But the Truth” the characters weren’t given enough honest information which caused the true story to be modified. In Poe’s short story, “The Tell- Tale Heart”, it shows that the narrator was unstable and the story he was telling wasn’t all true. The concept of the theme, truth, is a touchy subject. This is because some people think the truth is a fact but it is actually shaped by your perception. Overall, both of these texts show that unreliability is very important because it can change the real story.

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How Reliability Affects Truth in The Book Nothing But The Truth. (2021, August 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“How Reliability Affects Truth in The Book Nothing But The Truth.” Edubirdie, 24 Aug. 2021,
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How Reliability Affects Truth in The Book Nothing But The Truth [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 24 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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