The Tell-Tale Heart Lesson Plans
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart book cover
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The Tell-Tale Heart Metaphor Activity

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Excerpt From This Document

This activity gives students an opportunity to practice examining and analyzing metaphors. Metaphors express images, emotions, actions, experiences, and nuances through direct and indirect comparisons, allowing readers to access deeper levels of meaning in the text. In this activity, students will classify and analyze different kinds of metaphors in order to develop close reading skills and draw inferences from the text.

A classic Poe short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” features many of the author’s signature literary elements—a dark gothic setting, a deranged narrator, and a suspenseful plot intended to create in readers a sense of horror. As the unidentified narrator describes how he murders a helpless old man, why he does it, and how his crime is revealed to the authorities, the story becomes a psychological study of madness with Poe drawing readers into the narrator’s hallucinations and delusional thinking. Throughout the text, Poe’s use of metaphor emphasizes the narrator’s insanity and describes the eerie atmosphere in which the plot unfolds.

Skills: analysis, drawing inferences from text, close reading, identifying the relationship between words

Learning Objectives:
In completing this activity, students will

  • examine metaphors in a text;
  • classify metaphors in a text as direct and indirect;
  • analyze metaphors by focusing on the two things being compared and interpreting how one of them is described through the comparison.

About this Document

Our eNotes Classroom Activities give students opportunities to practice developing a variety of skills. Whether analyzing literary devices or interpreting connotative language, students will work directly with the text. The main components of our classroom activities include the following:

  • A handout defining the literary elements under discussion, complete with examples
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • An answer key or selected examples for reference, depending on the activity

In completing these classroom activities, students will be able to classify and analyze different literary elements, thereby developing close-reading skills and drawing deeper inferences from the text.