Materials: Copies of "The Raven" and "The Fall of the House of Usher," pens, pencils and paper.


Objectives (based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study):

  • The student will interpret meaning for an audience by examining the functions of narrative strategies such as plot, conflict, suspense, point of view and dialogue
  • The student will analyze stylistic features such as word choice and links between sense and sound.
  • The student will develop thematic connections among works by examining how representative elements such as tone, mood and style impact the development of theme.
  • The student will apply conventions of grammar and language usage by revising writing to enhance voice and style, sentence variety and other elements of fiction writing

anomalous, appellation, domain, equivocal, importunate, insoluble, insufferable, melancholy, munificent, obeisance, scrutinizing, sentience, specious, unobtrusive


1. Show a clip from a popular horror movie or play Michael Jackson's "Thriller" while displaying lyrics. Ask students to share scary movies, television shows or books. Discuss the purpose and function of horror stories.

2. Introduce Edgar Allan Poe. You can read a brief description from one of these web sites or, if students are particularly interested in Poe, allow them to search the sites themselves:

3. Discuss the narrative strategies of plot, conflict, suspense, point of view, dialogue, voice and style. You can divide the class into groups, assign them each a strategy, and ask them to write a brief description or give a demonstration of the meaning and function of the strategy.

4. Read "The Fall of the House of Usher." Ask each group to identify the function of their strategy in the piece. Share with class.

5. Read "The Raven," repeating step 4.

6. In groups, ask students to brainstorm their own ideas for a horror story.

7. Students should individually write their own stories and then share their work with peers. Monitor students while they write to identify strategies for review. Give them a checklist of narrative strategies to ensure that all strategies reviewed are complete and present in the student work.

8. Ask students to submit a final draft for teacher review. If necessary, you can hold teacher-student conferences after peer review.


Students can be monitored for participation and comprehension during group work. The short stories can be evaluated for successful use of narrative strategies, format and completion.


Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Fall of the House of Usher." Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Raven." Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience. Upper Saddle River, Prentice Hall, 2007.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Non-profit Tax ID # 203478467