Poe, Father of the short Story

While there was only one King of Pop, there are many who claim to be the ‘father’ of the short story.  Clearly, Poe would be a contender for such a title.  This week we studied some of his short stories, including “Cask of Amontillado.”  A classic tale that incorporates, greed, pride, trickery, and horror this story really delves in and exposes the human mind. 

We studied several aspects of Poe’s writing.  This site allowed us to hear the story from each person’s point of view.  We learned that the ’protagonist’ is the main character who is trying to accomplish something while the ’antagonist’ is trying to prevent the main character from the task at hand.

After exploring this site, I sent the kids to write their own short stories.  I wanted them to incorporate several things. 

1) I wanted the reader to feel like the protagonist was justified in his acts. 

2) I wanted the protagonist to get one over on the antagonist because of a personality flaw in the antagonist (just as Montresor got Fortunato to go down because of his own pride) 

3) I wanted it to have a dark aspect, like Poe.  

You will have to decide if they accomplished that. 

Audrey chose a non traditional route by personifying natural objects, while Spencer went with a traditional man vs. man routine. 


Click HERE to read Spencer’s Short Story!


Click HERE to read Audrey’s Short Story!

This week we looked into another classic Poe short story, “The Tell Tale Heart.”  This is the story of a madman who is convinced he isn’t mad.  We had an ‘ah-ha’ moment when the kids figured that one reason that Poe’s writings are so popular is because he speaks to the dark side of humanity using familiar things.  For example, in The Tell Tale Heart, it can be assumed that most people have witnessed an ‘eye’ that they found to be ‘creepy’ in some way.  Secondly, we talked about how Poe really wrote in ‘plain English’ so the masses could easily read it and comprehend it.  We looked at other poems where the language became more of an obstacle making it harder for the kids to understand. 


After reading The Tell Tale Heart (here), the kids could either use the sight to comment on things about the poem, or draw a picture of an image that came to mind from the poem.  The interactive sight caught Spencer’s ‘eye’...while Audrey decided to make an image of the story.

Currently, I cannot figure out why Spencer’s commentary will not cut and paste into this box...but, when I do, I will put it up.  Stay tuned!!