The Midnight Society: The Tell-Tale Heart Discussion

Thursday, October 1, 2020

I hope you enjoyed reading this spooky tale! I've read this story many times, both as a student and as a teacher, and I never get sick of it. I love reading it to myself hearing the narrator's voice in my head, and I love listening to Christopher Lee read (really, perform) it in the version I recommended Monday. Much like pumpkin spice coffee, thick sweaters, and warm socks, I hope "The Tell-Tale Heart" has helped you make the transition from the sunny days of summer to the crisp days of fall. And I hope it sent a chill up your spine as well! 

Before you begin reading the discussion questions below, I dare you to click this link. Keep it going in the background for as long as you can while you participate in the discussion ... if you dare. 

Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society: our discussion on the Edgar Allan Poe classic "The Tell-Tale Heart." 

1. Do you think the narrator is insane? Or do you think he was perfectly aware of what he was doing? What quotations from the story support insanity, and which support the belief he was perfectly sane?

2. The gender of the narrator is not revealed in the story, although many people assume it is a man. If the narrator were a woman, would this change your interpretation of the story?

3. What sound does the narrator hear after the murder? What is it really? Why does it get louder and louder?

4. The narrator tells the story in first person. Can we trust his account of the details? Why or why not?

5. Poe wrote that every word in a story should create a "single, overwhelming impression." What impression do you think was he trying to create in this story?

I'd love hearing your answers to these questions, or just let me know how you liked the story, how it made you feel, and what your favorite parts were. I look forward to today's discussion! 

Come back on Monday for the introduction to next week's spooky tale, "The Lottery." 

I've been teaching this story for several years, so I can't quite remember all the places I've learned information about this story or found good discussion questions, but two places I know for sure are here and here

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