Pleading with my Sanity to Describe the Actions of an Insane Man

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SWBAT analyze how incidents in a story provoked a character's decision to end the life of a dear friend in "Tale Tell Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe.

Big Idea

Motive Check: It's that annoying heart that found Me Guilty!

Warm-Up: Questions

7 minutes

Have you ever experience something or someone that just annoyed the mess out of you? Students will take their recalled experience and relate to the protagonist in the story, "Tell Tale Heart," by Edgar Allen Poe. To aid students in connecting their experience to that of the main character in the story, I ask them to respond to the following prompt on the whiteboard

If you continuously heard a heart beat, would it annoy you? Why or why not?

As students respond to the heartbeat, they are beginning to connect to the logic the narrator used when making that one, final decision to end the life of a dear, old friend. After students completed their heartbeat reflection, I wonder how their opinions would have changed by the end of the lesson. 

Independent Practice: Listening to Read the Motives Behind a Man's Own Heart

40 minutes

It is now time to jump right into the story. Students in my gifted class will read the story silently to themselves. In my regular classrooms, students will listen to an oral reading of the story so the accounts can be heard in a 1st person narration. After all students have interacted once with the story, the following questions will be answered in their notebooks:

What is the mood of the story? How does the author create the mood?

There is a lot of unusual punctuation in the story. What does that emphasize in the story? Give examples to support your points.

The author uses a lot of lengthy sentences. Find some examples and tell what effect that has on the mood the author creates. 

What is the meaning of the title? Cite evidence from the story to support your answer.

No matter how students heard the story, the question will be answered individually on paper. Because there are so many conclusions that can be drawn from the motives of the protagonist, students need to use thier own logic, prior thinking, and experiences to truthfully rely on their understandings of what happened in the text. View a students work sample of the Tell Tale Heart questions to see possible answers to each question. We will end this portion of the lesson by going over the grammar questions so students can understand how both the content and organization of words in the story impact its overall meaning.