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Leading up to Halloween, it is always enjoyable to get a taste of the dark, macabre work of Edgar Allan Poe. Beyond the creepy subject matter, his work is highly celebrated for its use of language, imagery, symbolism, and more.

Author studies aren't limited to elementary school. Bring on the Poe!

What is an Author Study?

An author study is more than just reading stories by the same author. An author study requires researching the author and reading various works. Research the author before, during, or after reading the works. The goal is for students to make critical evaluations of the author's style, prevalent themes and characters, and compare these aspects across different pieces of literature and connect things to the author's life.

Edgar Allan Poe Portrait

Selecting an Author

While it may seem silly to say, the focus of the author study should be the author: life and works. However, comparing the life or work of the author to another contemporary could be very illuminating regarding motivations or personal style or reactions to the same events in history.

American contemporary authors of Edgar Allan Poe include Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Who were his friends, his rivals, his models, and how, if at all, did they influence his life and writing?

For biographical information on Edgar Allan Poe, check out

Read All or a Selection of Writing

You can't get to know an author well by reading only one poem or one book. See the range and the similarities between all of the poems, short stories, and essays. Much of Edgar Allan Poe's writing is in the style of Gothic Literature.

Below are the Storyboard That guides on poems and short stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

Reflection and response should happen concurrently with the reading of the works. Have students take notes, keep a response log, engage in frequent discussions, and/or short assignments.

Final Project

Create storyboards as part of a final project. Projects could consist of one presentation on multiple books/poems, or a focused presentation on a single book or poem. Allow students to showcase what they learned about Edgar Allan Poe!

  • Do a deep analysis of one of your favorite Poe tales.
  • Compare and contrast the development of plots of two (or more) short stories.
  • Identify and depict common literary elements across works.
  • Identify and depict recurring themes, topics, subjects, characters, or other aspects of style across works.
  • Create a storyboard with at least five symbols from different stories or poems.
  • Write a new graphic novel or visual narrative in the style of Edgar Allan Poe.
      Don't forget to use shadows from search and the night time option on smart scenes!

Create a Storyboard*

Applicable Common Core State Standards

Grade 8

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3: Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5: Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.8.6: Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor

Grades 9-10

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3: Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5: Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise

Grades 11-12

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2: Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3: Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed)
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5: Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6: Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement)
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9: Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics

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