Instructors’ Teaching Experience

This is a great text to teach early in the semester!  Students love starting with short stories, and while Poe’s language can be difficult, they tend to enjoy this creepy tale. Audiobook versions of the story are readily available and can help students think about sound/word choice, etc.  Also, compared to some of Poe’s other work, this one seems more accessible (I taught “The Cask of Amontillado” with much less success).  [V. Nakoski]

Classroom Strategies

I found that it was extremely productive to have my students bring questions to class.  They inevitably ask something about the function of time, “what’s up with the eye,” and who the narrator is.  We go through the text looking for all the references to time and I had the class think about the significance of “time” as a way of tracking the sanity of the narrator.  We also discuss the narrator’s obsession with observation; both fearing observation by the “vulture eye” and obsessively observing the old man.  Again, I have them look for clues in the text.  Lastly, we spend some time looking for “clues” about the narrator (man or woman, old or young, relationship to the old man, etc.).  I find that these three questions take up about 45 minutes of time, so of course you could choose just one.  This was also a text that we look at early in the semester; it gives them some confidence in their ability to find quotes to support their argument. [V. Nakoski]