Creating Suspense Lesson 1: Analyzing Literary Devices in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death"

Rather than a whodunit, "The Masque of the Red Death" is the perfect story to analyze how Poe combines literary devices to create the suspense that grips readers. The richly detailed lesson plan is carefully scaffolded, moving from teacher modeling with a read/think aloud, to guided practice exercises, to independent practice.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Read the last paragraph of the tale aloud, direct class members to tap their desks each time they hear the word and, and then ask listeners to consider why Poe might have used this repetition
  • Ask readers to draw the floor plan of the castle and suggest why Poe might have chosen such an arrangement and such a color scheme
Classroom Considerations

  • Requires considerable prep time to collect and copy materials
  • Presumes readers have prior knowledge of the literary devices Poe uses in the story
Pros

  • The six-page packet includes an annotated teacher copy of the story with instruction suggestions, discussion questions, a PowerPoint presentation, and a vocabulary list
Cons

  • None